Our ceramics are made by local artists - ordinary people from the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, who are given training, materials, a studio and a guaranteed market for their work, under the guidance of our founder, Fée Halsted.
Early on, Raphael learnt that life was tough. His father left the family when he was very young and his mother took up domestic work to support her four children.
Raphael left school after grade six and earned a living working in factories and later as a taxi conductor.
His recreation and his passion, however, was sculpting, which he started doing when he was eight years old.
In 1999, at the age of 25, Raphael was introduced to the Ardmore Ceramic art studio and to Fée Halsted by his brother-in-law, Nhlanhla Nsundwane, one of Ardmore’s most talented sculptors.
Raphael soon found a niche for himself working alongside Fée. His diligence and discipline, as well as his fastidious attention to detail and originality, resulted in a steady out-put of his naive animal teapots and palm tree candlesticks, which sold ‘hot out of the kiln.’
At the Christie’s auction in London in January 2004 bidding for these charming but simple pieces was highly competitive. At the end of the auction, the tally earned by Raphael far exceeded that of any other of Ardmore’s artists.
To the great sadness of the Ardmore family Raphael died in 2009.
‘Great Cats of the World’Johannesburg
Amaridian GalleryNew York
‘Wonderful World of Ardmore’Cape Town
South Africa HouseLondon