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National Museum of Australia

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Ceramic bust of John Batman


Ceramic bust of John Batman

Object information

Physical description

Cream glazed hollow ceramic bust of John Batman, with head and upper torso moulded into a plinth base. The head features brimmed hat and a beard below the chin-line. The torso is depicted with a shirt collar and tie. The plinth bears relief lettering "BATMAN". The base bears a circular adhesive product label, with red text on a cream background - "Mel-rose / Ware / MADE IN / AUSTRALIA / Shape No (with handwritten) V 55 / Decoration No (with handwritten) S 25 / Price ...".

Statement of significance

The collection consists of two slip-cast earthenware pottery busts, manufactured by 'Melrose Australian Ware' for the 1934 Centenary of Melbourne. One depicts John Batman in cream putty, and the other John Pascoe Fawkner in matte green. The busts are approximately half life-size and are in excellent condition.

The Batman and Fawkner busts were manufactured by Melrose Ware, a part of the Hoffman Company, in Brunswick, Melbourne. They were part of a commission for the Melbourne Centenary celebrations for 1934 at a time when a deliberate attempt was made to rehabilitate the reputation of Fawkner and Batman as the founders of the city of Melbourne and the colony of Victoria.

Object information

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