The Proclamation Cup: Tasmanian Potter Violet Mace and Colonial Quotations

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Abstract

In 1934 Tasmanian potter Violet Mace created a ceramic 'proclamation cup' painted with a series of images derivative of those depicted on the well-known proclamation boards distributed by Governor George Arthur in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in late 1829 or early 1830 to 'conciliate' Aboriginal people on the frontier. This paper explores Mace's cup as both a historical souvenir and a reworking or quotation within the popular culture of Tasmania's settler-colonial society during the early twentieth century. As the paper reveals, Mace's cup and related works are best understood within a rich series of derivatives and reworkings including lithographs, lantern slides and postcards - an established visual vernacular - that emerged from the original proclamation images over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But Mace's personal connection to the town of Bothwell, a major site of frontier warfare must also be considered. Mace's cup resides within the complex intersections of local and colonial history, Tasmania's emergent ceramics arts movement and growing tourism industry, and tells us much about settler remembrance and forgetting concerning Tasmania's difficult contact history between Aboriginal people and settlers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReCollections
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

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