Scope and Content

The collection includes papers relating to Mary Wondrausch's potteries at Farncombe and Compton; exhibitions of her work; correspondence, writing and research for her books on slipware, and on Brickfields, her house at Compton, and articles on pottery, food and textiles; sketch books of designs and drawings, and photographs, 1960-2017. There are also collected items including deeds of property in Godalming, 1677-1747, and plans of a house at Ockford for Thomas Cooper, 1870.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Wondrausch was born Mary Angela Lambert in Battersea on 17 December 1923, the daughter of Harold Lambert and Margaret (nee Montgomery). She trained at Kingston School of Art and in the Second World War was in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps as a cook. She was originally a painter working principally in collage when she lived in Chelsea and was a member of the Women's International Art Club. She was married three times, the third time in 1954 to the Polish architect Witold Wondrausch, with whom she had three children. In 1955 she moved to Brickfields, Compton. During the 1960s she was an art teacher at Barrow Hills School, Witley. She studied pottery part-time at Farnham College of Art in 1969. In 1975 she started Wharf Pottery, initially in Godalming and then at 55 St John's Street, Farncombe, before selling the premises and converting the stables at Brickfields into a pottery in 1984. She specialised in the production of slipware and commemorative plates. During the 1980s she travelled in France, Germany and Hungary studying and working with country potters. In 1986 she published 'Mary Wondrausch on Slipware' (A & C Black). She was a Member and Fellow of the Craft Potters Association. Her pottery and paintings were exhibited widely and examples of her work are held in local and national museums and private collections. She also researched and wrote on food, pottery food containers and kitchen equipment. She was the author of the article in the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography' on Dorothy Rosaman Hartley (1893-1985), social historian, illustrator and author, who was best known as the author of the book 'Food In England' (1954). Mary Wondrausch was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to the arts. She published a book on her life at Brickfields in 2004. She died on 26 December 2016.

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs Claudia Nockolds, daughter of Mary Wondrausch, in April 2017.

Other Finding Aids

An item level description of the archive is available on the Surrey History Centre online catalogue

Related Material

Research notes, drawings and photographs relating to the history of English and European Slipware compiled by Mary Wondrausch, are held as SD 1733 by Stoke on Trent City Archives.

Sound and video recordings of Mary Wondrausch talking about her life and work, made in 1996, are held by Recording the Crafts, formerly NEVAC (The National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts), based at the School of Creative Arts at the University of the West of England, Bristol. For further details see

Sound recordings of Mary Wondrausch talking about her life and work, as part of the British Library's 'National Life Stories Collection: Crafts' Lives', made in 2007, are held by the British Library as C960/77 and can be heard at

Mary Wondrausch donated her library of studio pottery books to the Leach Pottery, St Ives, in 2009.

Related business records held at Surrey History Centre include:
The Potters' Arts Guild, Ltd, Compton, manufacturers of garden and architectural terracotta and hand made pottery, 1921-1951. The Potters' Arts Guild was formed in 1904 to carry on the work of Mary Watts, wife of the painter George Frederick Watts. Mary Watts had set up a clay modelling class in Compton village and members decorated the Watts Cemetery Chapel, designed by her, with terracotta models. The chapel was dedicated in 1898 but the class continued and developed into the Potters' Arts Guild.

Ashtead Potters Ltd, Ashtead, 1930-1942. It was founded in 1923 by Sir Lawrence Weaver and Lady Kathleen Weaver to provide permanent employment for disabled ex-servicemen.


'Mary Wondrausch on Slipware', (A & C Black, London, 1986), republished 2001;
'Brickfields, my life at Brickfields as a potter, painter, gardener, writer and cook', by Mary Wondrausch (self-published, 2004);
'Who's Who' (A & C Black, London, 2016)