UCL News


Press cutting: Pottering about could really pay off

17 February 2007

Studio pottery is a truly chic addition to today's minimalist interiors.

The father of the British studio pottery movement was Bernard Leach. He was born in 1887 and studied at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art until 1908, when he left to teach drawing in Japan. However, while he was there, he became fascinated by the work of Oriental potters and became one himself.

On his return to England in 1921, Leach established a pottery at St Ives, in Cornwall. Assisted by a Japanese potter friend named Shoji Hamada, the two began to produce simple, "honest pots", as Leach described them, seemingly as a revolutionary stand against the highly decorative products of the Edwardian era.

A number of other young potters found themselves drawn to St Ives, where Leach's influence produced a "school" of gifted potters. Among them were Michael Cardew, who later went off to make pots in Africa, and Katharine Playdell Bouverie, who went "back to nature" with her experiments to colour pots using ash from wood and plants. …

There's more to art pottery than these prestigious names and, for the collector who likes a flutter, investments today might well pay off in years to come. …

Christopher Proudlove, 'Financial Times'