School of Art
Art PotteryThe collection of ceramics now categorised as art pottery was amassed in the 1920s and 1930s; these were often produced in the existing centres of mass-produced pottery but were an attempt to exploit the growing market for non-utilitarian ceramics intended for domestic display. The larger pottery manufacturers employed craftspeople to design and decorate pottery allowing a degree of experimentation. An exchange of ideas encouraged the dissemination of technical expertise, from throwing to glaze recipes to decorating techniques.
From the available range of contemporary practice, acquisitions were conditioned by the Sidney Greenslade's admiration of 'simple and unaffected' work. Ceramics were purchased from small workshops such as Upchurch Pottery in Kent and larger concerns that were off-shoots of industrial pottery factories. Among them were Charles Noke's 'Chang' ware for Doulton & Co. in Burslem, Gladys Roger's 'Lapis' ware from the Royal Lancastrian wares produced by Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Co. Ltd, Manchester, stoneware pots from the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Co., Wedgwood factory-made ceramics hand-painted by Alfred and Louise Powell and their workshop, and hand-painted earthenware pots, together with experimental pieces by John Adams at Carter, Stabler & Adams in Poole.
Carter & Co., Poole, tin-glazed earthenware, c.1910
The art pottery in the collection represents a diverse range of influences from Art Nouveau, Japonisme, Korean and Chinese Sung-dynasty pots to the continuation the long tradition of European hand-painted ceramic decoration. It also conforms to the general themes which underscore the rest of the inter-war ceramics collection - experimental, but not flamboyant, and looking to ancient traditions yet very much a part of contemporary practice.