School of Art

Contact Details

School of Art
Aberystwyth University
Buarth Mawr
SY23 1NG

Tel: +44 (0)1970 622460

Fax: +44 (0)1970 622461


Display artist/maker:

Sophie MacCarthy

Born: 1956

Ceramicist. Comparisons have been drawn between MacCarthy’s early work and the style of the Bloomsbury group, with whom she has family connections. She is the granddaughter of the critic Sir Desmond MacCarthy, and grew up surrounded by the paintings and decorative arts of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. She studied ceramics at Amersham College of Art, and Sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art.

In 1980 she worked as a thrower at Chelsea Pottery, before becoming an assistant to John Hinchcliffe in 1984. Here she was inspired by his approach to decoration, which is bold and colourful but never garish. She established a workshop in London shortly afterwards where she continues to produce functional ware, especially large jugs and platters. Her surface decoration originally was two-tone with a limited palette and her use of abstract shapes and linear nudes reinforced the Omega associations.

Since the 1980s she has used wax resists and stencils to create designs including leaves, figures, fruit and fish. She paints directly onto the clay and builds up pictorial depth through transparent layers of slip. This gives the effect of peering into a rock pool full of swimming fish, or holding a bowl of swirling autumn leaves, abandoning any Bloomsbury associations.

Objects in the collections associated with this artist/maker

'Abstract' C1181 Ceramics

[Large plate] C1180 Ceramics