Ken Lawrence and Don Evans

1924 – 2006             1923 - 2004

Ken Lawrence and Don Evans were two collectors with a passion for Australian Studio Ceramics. Ken Lawrence was born in England in 1924 and came to Australia with his parents as a child and grew up in Brighton, Victoria, living not far from the beach, the whole family being fascinated by the sea. Both parents were Australiana collectors with Ken's father being interested in Aboriginal and New Guinea artefacts, and his mother also collected porcelain figures.

Educated at Brighton Grammar, Ken joined the RAAF and served for nearly four years during World War Two, becoming active in theatre groups before his discharge. Upon completion of university courses in drama and opera production, Ken spent time acting, directing and teaching in these fields but was unable to derive a steady income from them and moved into the commercial world to work in the offices of Bushells Tea.

KenDon Photo

Don Evans and Ken Lawrence

Having purchased a Royal Doulton figure of "Falstaff", Ken embarked on a journey of collecting objects with a theatrical background and haunted antique shops and auctions houses, developing an interest in early English earthen-wares and porcelains.

Ken's partner, Don Evans, who worked as an architect, had also served in World War Two as a teenager, and he developed an interest in Oriental ceramics and objects, having learnt about them from Japanese prisoners of war. Many important Oriental works were bought cheaply through the auction houses as they were not appreciated at the time.

Ken and Don decided to become full-time dealers and after initially dealing from their home, they opened "KenDon Antiques" in Hampton Street, Brighton, later moving to Bay Street, Brighton, and then moving to Armadale where they restored a large Victorian-era house. Their business flourished and they expanded into dealing in Australian colonial furniture, especially items of Huon Pine from Tasmania.

An appreciation of the early Bendigo pottery led to their developing a passion for Australian Studio Ceramics and their first important exhibition pot was a large Bizen sphere by Col Levy that they purchased in 1983. Over the last 35 years of their lives they amassed an incredible 3,500 plus ceramic works by some of Australia's renowned ceramics artists. The collection represents the Australian Studio Ceramic Movement from its pioneering days after the Second World War, to the present. It is an important and unique collection which documents the growth of individual potters, some household names, others less well-known, over a period of time, and it constitutes an important educational resource for those interested in the study of Australian Pottery.

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