Juliet Peter, painter, printmaker, potter and designer died in Wellington on 12 January, aged 94. Earlier this week several Te Papa staff attended her funeral.
An early practitioner of studio ceramics in New Zealand, Juliet’s work was stylish and individual. Her commitment to clay led to her close association with the magazine New Zealand Potter, which she and her husband Roy Cowan worked on from 1962, along with founders Doreen Blumhardt and Helen Mason. Juliet developed the drawings and designed the magazine’s layouts.
As well as painting and pottery, design was an important part of her work. Juliet was a longstanding contributor to the School Journal and brought a lively, personal touch to her designs and illustrations.
Te Papa holds watercolours, lithographs and pottery by Juliet. This stoneware branch pot is an elegant example of her salt glazed works, which have minimal decoration but a strong emphasis on form.
The pot was fired in the kiln built in Ngaio, Wellington by Roy Cowan in the mid 1970s. Like Juliet, Roy was also a painter, printmaker and designer, and theirs was a considerable creative partnership. He passed away in 2006.
We offer our sympathies to Juliet Peter’s family. She leaves a legacy in twentieth century New Zealand art and design that will long be remembered.
Curator Contemporary Decorative Art