Historical information

Sanders was a well-known local potter who worked for a time with David Boyd at the Martin Boyd Pottery, before returning to Melbourne where he had some association with Arthur Boyd, at the pottery in Murrumbeena.

Sanders set up a studio in Eltham in the early 1950s and made the first of a series of architectural ceramic murals with painter and print maker Lawrence Daws in 1956. After returning from his travels in Europe to Australia in 1964, he began to work solely on creating ceramic murals. Murals created during the second half of the 1960s and into the 70s can/could previously be found at Southland Shopping Centre in Cheltenham, Melbourne (1968) - now demolished, the National Mutual Centre, Melbourne (1964-5) - now demolished, Dee Why Library, Sydney (1966), Woden Valley High School, ACT (1967), Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne (1969, 1970), Perth Concert Hall (1971) and University of Melbourne (1975) (with John Olsen). Sanders has worked with many of Australia’s pre-eminent painters and ceramicists including Fred Williams and John Olsen. In 2015 Nillumbik Shire Council will be installing a mural by Sanders, donated by Tom and his family before Tom passed away in 2009, for the redevelopment of the Eltham Town Square.


During the 1970s Sanders produced a number of tapestry designs. Highly respected artist and one time local resident Hilary Jackman worked with Sanders developing and adapting his tile designs to be translated into silk tapestries that were made in Japanese Mills of Kawashima Orimono in Kyoto. They were displayed in the big Hall in the NGV. Sanders gave these tiles to Jackman as payment for her work. The tapestries are based on abstract designs and have a cotton warp, and silk weft.

The tiles are similar to Sanders’ other mural works such as Wall of the Moon (Homage to Miro) and the mural located in the Perth Concert Hall. It’s clear that Sanders was inspired by the Spanish surrealist artist Joan Miro from the 1930s in both philosophy and style. Miro’s work is quite playful, symbolic and imaginative. Miro’s preference for painting like this was “to express contempt for conventional painting methods, which he saw was a way of supporting a bourgeois society”. He "famously declared an "assassination of painting" in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.”

Physical description

Three earthenware tiles, embossed with an abstract linear design.

Inscriptions & markings