Pottery of J. Palin Thorley

Hi everybody, I’m Nick Wamsley and I will be carrying out my research on the authenticity of works attributed to J. Palin Thorley.  Thorley is a world-renowned potter who was born in England, but came to America to work in the mid-20th Century.  He worked for several major ceramics companies, and eventually settled in Williamsburg as the primary ceramics maker in Colonial Williamsburg.  Thorley was a master of many types of pottery and patterns, ranging from classic techniques and styles to more innovative modern patterns.

This summer, I will have the assistance of John Austin, who was a close personal friend of Thorley and Head Curator of Ceramics at Colonial Williamsburg for years.  With the help of Austin, and Thorley’s notes and papers that Austin has recently donated to Swem, I will try to investigate Austin’s collection of Thorley’s works (which is the best such collection in the world) to determine if they were indeed created by the potter.

I have already met with Mr. Austin and seen his incredible collection, which is simply scattered all throughout his house, and after seeing the collection I am even more excited to work on this project.  The end result will be significant progress on Mr. Austin’s catalogue of Thorley’s works, and I hope to accomplish this!


  1. Katy Pfeffer says:

    Have you finished your work? I have a couple of CW pieces marked Palin Thorley – I imagine John Austin already has them.