Born in 1924, Len Castle completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Auckland in 1946. He was introduced to pottery at night classes while training to be a secondary school teacher. His career path turned after he won a scholarship to study with master potter Bernard Leach in St Ives, Cornwall. During this period, recalled Castle, he absorbed a strong work ethic and became strongly drawn to the Oriental aesthetic. Castle returned from England to a job teaching science at Auckland Teachers' College. In 1963, he left the Teachers' College and became a professional potter, and in the same year, was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Society of Potters. In 1966, he won a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council fellowship, which he used to go to Japan and Hawaii. His trip cemented his love of Japanese pottery. In 1986, Castle was made a Commander of the British Empire and in 1990, he received a New Zealand Commemorative Medal, and in 2003 was made a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit. Len Castle died in 2011.
A vintage Len Castle pottery vase, spherical form with four spout form apertures to the top, impressions to the shoulder between, the top with thick caramel toned rock-ash type glaze, unglazed lower body, impressed mark, c.1960. Height 23.5 cm
Len Castle, rare and unusual Crum Brickworks salt glazed bottle vase, the salt glaze with an unusual 'Flambe' look achieved by a blend of titanium and vanadium, LC mark. Height 18.5 cm. Provenance: originally purchased from the Wellington architect
Len Castle, bottle vase, in the Japanese manner with tenmoku glaze and wax resist quince blossom motifs on a pearlescent brown ground, circa 1980, C mark, height 30 cm. Illustrated: craft New Zealand, Doreen Blumhardt and Brian brake, 1981, page 247 and Le
Len Castle, crumb Brickworks stoneware vase, tall cylindrical form with rich golden brown slip. Glazed at the crumb Brickworks, circa 1951, C mark, height 28 cm. Provenance: from the collection of Nancy Beck, purchased at the Albany village Potters Collect
Len Castle, crumb Brickworks squat ovoid vase, with mid brown manganese slip and salt glaze. Glazed at the crumb brickworks, circa 1954, Castellated mark, height 16 cm, illustrated Cone ten Down: the Studio movement in New Zealand pottery 1945-1980 by Moyr
Len Castle, “Helen Mason” vase, 1958, Triparte vase with cylindrical base and ovoid centre section and conical neck in oatmeal grey glaze with brown motif to the centre, height 27 cm, Used on the poster to advertise the New Zealand Studio potte
Len Castle, stoneware blossom vase, with tenmoku glaze with jun glaze to the shoulders and neck. This example is the last one of these made in June 1995 by special order for the vendor, LC mark, height 57 cm
Len Castle, large gourd form bottle vase, with gnarled rim and scored sides in heavy feldspathic matt white glaze with blue and brown highlights, mid 1960s, C mark, diameter 41 cm. Refer Len Castle Potter, page 36.
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