In memory of the remarkable Compton potter and painter, Mary Wondrausch

Some of Mary Wondrausch's work is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

Some of Mary Wondrausch's work is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London - Credit: Archant

The passing away of well¬known Surrey resident Mary Wondrausch OBE, on Boxing Day last year, created a high demand from those wishing to own a piece of her work. The exhibition of her work at The Watts Gallery in February, subsequently sold out very quickly

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2017


Surrey lost one of its most colourful and remarkable artists, when the Compton-based potter and painter died at the age of 93. Mary’s work is renowned globally, specifically for her slip-decorated earthenware, some of which is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and in a myriad of private collections all over the world.

She was awarded an OBE in 2000, when she was recognised for services to the arts, and was an honorary fellow of the Craft Potters’ Association.

Mary has strong ties to Surrey having lived in the county for over 50 years, although she was born in Chelsea in 1923. She trained at Farnham’s West Surrey College of Art, now the University of Creative Art; and in 1974 went on to set up her own pottery in Godalming in her 40s. Prior to this she worked as a cook and an art teacher.

Ewbank’s held a special sale of Mary’s work on April 28, which included pots and paintings, spanning her 50-year career. In total, the sale featured around 50 lots of pottery. Mary specialised in commemorative wares, for events, such as the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, for which she sold ceramics to both Harrods and Liberty of London.

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Despite being known predominantly for her pottery, Mary was an accomplished painter. In her early career, she created huge collage paintings, and more recently she concentrated on her painting.

The auction also included around 100 lots of her paintings - including some of her latest de-collage and collage - mainly gouache work - and items of furniture from her house, which were hand-painted by Mary in Bloomsbury style.

Mary was an avid collector and had a keen interest in folk art from around the world but particularly pottery made in a traditional style. Her collections are also on sale at Ewbank’s, and include a broad range of ceramics, kitchenalia and bygones.

Local collectors of ceramics and paintings keen to procured further pieces of this extraordinary artist’s work on May 11, when more of Mary’s collection went under the hammer in Ewbank’s garden auction including chimneys, terracotta pots, and a rose arch. A small collection of her antique textiles was also sold on May 18 in our textile and vintage fashion sale.

• If you have any memories of Mary Wondrausch and her work, we’d love to hear them at

• Chris Ewbank is senior partner at Ewbank’s, with auction rooms on the A3, just north of Guildford. Ewbanks, Burnt Common Auction Rooms, London Road, Send. GU23 7LN. Tel: 01483 223101. Web:***

Antiques Scene is a monthly Surrey Life column with Christopher Ewbank. Never miss an edition by taking advantage of our latest money-saving subscription deal today.


Ewbank’s is sponsoring The Art of Sidney Sime, Artist and Philosopher exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking until May 28. Sime lived in Worlplesdon for more than 30 years. For further information, visit