The emergence of Australian Studio Pottery in the 1940s-50s can be traced back to a small number of Melbourne potters including Klytie Pate. Pate, who studied drawing at the National Gallery School and modelling and sculpture at Melbourne Technical College/Working Men's College, was herself a teacher of ceramics before becoming a professional potter in 1945.
The ginger jar was a favourite form of the artist, who was inspired by the Kent Collection of Chinese ceramics at the National Gallery of Victoria. Pate's knowledge and skill in the application of glaze technology was exceptional for her time, and she experimented with the varied qualities of exotic glaze recipes. She applied her knowledge both to works that were extensively carved in the art deco style as well as to pieces such as this ginger jar which is unadorned except for its lustrous purple glaze.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat began in 1884 and the collection has evolved over 126 years to primarily reflect the history of Australian art through painting and works on paper. It has a significant collection of ceramics from c.1900 through to contemporary pieces. Recently over the past 40 years there has been steady collecting in Australian ceramics, with one focus being the ceramic artists of the Ballarat region.
The Gallery also has an outstanding fashion collection centering on formal womenswear from the turn of the century. Amidst a broad collection of Australian art, which is recognised as amongst Australia's best and oldest fine art collections, there are items of Australian colonial silver, woodwork such as furniture and excellent representations other aspects of the decorative arts such as glass and jewellery. A key textile is the original Eureka flag, which dates from the famous Ballarat gold fields uprising of 1854.