Elischer Pottery was started in Sandringham in 1947 by well-known sculptor John (Johann Wolfgang) Elischer (1891-1966) and his son, also named John, (known as Wolly). John (Snr) was born in Vienna and trained at the Academy of Vienna from 1908 to 1911 and was an Associate of the Royal Academy Vienna. He won the Prix de Rome in 1909. This was a scholarship for art students, although his name does not appear on the list of winners, he may have been awarded a second prize. This is no shame because Manet and Monet both failed to win the Prix de Rome. Johan later studied in Paris (1910-1911) under the even more famous August Rodin.
After serving with the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War 1, he practiced as a sculptor in Vienna and designed figures for Austrian pocelain factories. In 1924, he became the Art Director at Dittman-Brunner, an Austrian light fitting and novelty manufacturer. He won an international competition in 1926 to design a memorial in South Africa for General Botha. An excellent example of his early work, the sculpture, 'Foundryman' is held in the Eckhart G. Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. This piece captures the intense concentration, grace and skill involved in pouring metal.