Important Australian + International Fine Art
30 November 2011


(c.1820 - 1868)

watercolour on paper

25.0 x 42.5 cm

signed and dated lower right: JOHN R ROBERTS 1865

$20,000 - 30,000
Sold for $38,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 23 - 30 November 2011, Melbourne

Enoch Fowler, Sydney
Thence by descent
Private collection, Sydney

Catalogue text

Enoch Fowler (1807-79) founded a very successful pottery business, arriving on the 'Adam Lodge' from Londonderry, Ireland, in 1837, on a government-assisted passage for skilled migrants. He had changed his age to 26, as people over 30 were not eligible, and during the four month voyage, his wife and child died.1

Fowler remarried in 1838 and opened a small pottery in Sydney, producing ginger beer bottles, jars and clay pipes at Parramatta Street, now Broadway. In 1848, the pottery moved to Glebe, and in the 1850s the business re-located to a five acre site at the corner of Parramatta Road and Australia Street, Camperdown. This is the view depicted here by John R. Roberts who was also an architect and surveyor. It is quite possible that Enoch Fowler commissioned Roberts to portray his thriving enterprise. The firm's 25 employees were producing 800 meters of drainpipe a week with a new type of machine displayed at the Parramatta Agricultural Society Show in 1860. The business expanded rapidly in tandem with the growing city, and also produced fire bricks, tiles, chimney pots and all manner of pottery items.2

Enoch's son Robert Fowler (1840-1906) went into politics, becoming Lord Mayor of Sydney in 1880. With the substantial estate left to him, he built a large home at 14 Australia Street, Camperdown, opposite his father's house 'Cranbrook' which still stands today.3

The company is now part of James Hardie, producing bathroom ware. 19th century Fowler pottery and 20th century Fowler ware have become highly collectable.

1. Boggs, Brian: The People of the 'Adam Lodge' 1837, in:
2. Walsh, G.P., Robert Fowler, in: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
3. Ibid.