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Talks with David Roche | 2017

Wednesday 29 Nov Rhona Clement (NSW) – Regency ceramics.

The Regency is a particularly rich period for ceramics, which were used by royalty, aristocrats and by the now, substantial body of wealthy, middle classes. In this period many ceramics show a high technical mastery of both the body and the decoration and can be breath-taking in design and artistry. It was a style of ceramics that David Roche was very fond of collecting.

The British Regency is a period named after King George IV when he was acting as Regent from 1811 to 1820; however, it should be said that the term has been extended, particularly in relation to ceramics, to apply more widely, from the early 1800’s to 1830. George, or “Prinny” as he was often referred to, had an acute interest in style and taste, both with regard to his furnishings, clothes and his houses.

By the early 1800’s, gilding and coloured grounds on ceramics become stronger and more stately; symmetry increased, classical band motifs occurred and the fashion moved to Greek designs. Genre scenes, shells and feathers by painters fill cartouches, centres and the cavetto on ceramics and grand armorial services become very popular. Etruscan and Egyptian styles also enjoy flashes in the high fashion stakes, and the influence of the French Empire style of Napoleon was never far from the mind of the King, or those wishing to sell him luxury porcelain.


Rhona Clement arrived in Australia in 1982, armed with a Scottish law degree, a Sotheby’s Works of Art course diploma, three years’ experience with a London ceramic dealer and came to run the Antique Porcelain Gallery in Sydney for Maurice Robertson. She then worked for two well-known dealers in Queen Street, Woollahra, both of whom had ceramics and spent ten great years there. Rhona has given lectures to the Ceramic Collectors Society, a Sydney based Works of Art course and AAADA.

All this while, Rhona has remained an inveterate collector of ceramics and belongs to numerous ceramic societies which has led to fascinating overseas trips, behind-the-scenes visits to museums and private collections. Rhona loves ceramics, not just for the objects themselves, but also the history behind them and the workings of the societies into which they give us a glimpse.

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