Keith Day Pearce Murray, born in New Zealand, trained as an architect; but in 1932 he took a position as a freelance designer for Wedgwood. He quickly established himself as one the leading exponents of Art Deco design, with work being shown at many major exhibitions, including Milan (1933), London (1935) and Paris (1937).
His work quickly found favour with public and critics alike; the art critic for The Time wrote that ‘Nothing in this exhibition [at the Royal Academy] is more gratifying than the work as designer of Keith Murray’.
His work in stoneware – black basalt, and the rare examples in bronze basalt and red stoneware – was ill suited to mass production. Thrown on the potter’s wheel in the traditional manner, then decorated by hand in his clean, restrained style using the lathe, these works were never produced in great numbers. As with all good ceramics, they have become rarer and more sought after with the passage of time.