Bernard Leach (1887 − 1979)
Bernard Leach was born in Hong Kong, living both there and in Japan until 1897 when he returned to England to attend Beaumont Jesuit College in Windsor. He studied at the Slade School of Art (where he was the youngest pupil) and etching at the London School of Art under Frank Brangwyn.
In 1909 he returned to Japan to teach drawing and etching. Leach 'discovered' pottery at a Raku tea party, attracted to the art of the Japanese potters he studied under Ogata Konzan, a master of Raku craft. Ogata Konzan was the original head of the Konzan School of potters and tradition decreed that the Master of the School should permit his best pupils to use his name, palette and glazes. Bernard Leach represented the seventh generation in the Koznan tradition.
Leach exhibited in China and Japan, before returning to England in 1920 with his family and the potter Shoji Hamada, with whom he started a pottery on the outskirts of St Ives in Cornwall. In 1934 he once more returned to Japan, and there he worked with Hamada, by then a potter of repute with his own pottery in Mashiko. Two years later Leach began writing, and his first book A Potter's Book was published in 1940.
As Leach himself stated 'All my life I have been a courier between East and West. I believe in the interplay and marriage of the two complimentary branches of fuman culture as a prelude to the unity and maturity of men. I believe that from this century forward a potter must be an artist and that non-industrial pots will be judged as works of art. Today, and practically only from today, the concept of form, pattern texture and colour in a non-industrial pot springs to life in a single man's brain. Thus the question as to whether a potter is an artist or not becomes vital'.
In 1961 a retrospective exhibition of his work was shown in Britain and Japan, and that same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Exeter University, together with the writer Agatha Christie. In 1973 he was made a Companion of Honour. The Victoria and Albert Museum mounted a major exhibition of his work in 1977 and in 1998 a retrospective exhibition was toured throughout Japan. Leach is rightly regarded as the father of British studio pottery and was a forceful presence for over 60 years. It is said that he made over 100,000 pots; many were functional tableware pieces that were produced by the St Ives Pottery at a price affordable by the general public but maintained the high standards of form, glaze and decoration that Leach felt was fundamental. His studio pieces are mainly in stoneware and porcelain and his use of decoration owes much to his understanding of Japanese calligraphy and brushwork.
Bernard Leach: Potter and Artist, Crafts Council, London 1997 (introduction by Oliver Watson)
The creation of handmade objects intended to be both useful and decorative.
The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.
An intaglio process whereby a metal plate (normally copper, zinc or steel) is covered with an acid-resistant layer of rosin mixed with wax. With a sharp point, the artist draws through this ground to reveal the plate beneath. The plate is then placed in an acid bath (a water and acid solution) and the acid bites into the metal plate where the drawn lines have exposed it. The waxy ground is cleaned off and the plate is covered in ink and then wiped clean, so that ink is retained only in the etched lines. The plate can then be printed through an etching press. The strength of the etched lines depends on the length of time the plate is left in the acid bath.
Vitreous coatings applied to pottery to make objects watertight and as a form of decoration. Also a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coating applied to the surface of a painting to modify the colour tones. Glazes may also be applied on top of one another as a means of creating a sense of depth and translucency.
One of the three major types of pottery, the others being stoneware and earthenware. Porcelain is fired in the region of 1300ºC to produce a white vitrified and translucent body.
A low fired, soft lead and borax glazed ware, originally made for the Japanese tea ceremony. It incorporates a special firing technique.
One of the three major types of pottery, the others being earthenware and porcelain. A buff, gray or brown clay is mixed with other clays and ceramic materials to make a heavy, opaque, highly plastic clay body that is fired at a high temperature - above 1200ºC. It is in between earthenware and porcelain in its character. The term stoneware also refers to the clay body and objects made from it.
- Japan, Kyoto, Takashimaya
- Japan, Yokohama, Takashimaya
- Japan, Osaka, Takashimaya
- Japan, Tokyo, Takashimaya
- Wales, Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery
- UK, Farnham, Crafts Study Centre
- Japan, Hyogo, The Museum Of Ceramic Art
- Wales, Cardiff, National Museum Of Wales
- UK, London, Brunei Gallery
- UK, Farnham, James Hockey Gallery
- UK, Newcastle, Cleveland Craft Gallery
- UK, Penzance, Penlee House Gallery & Museum
- Brazil, Salvador Bahia, Centro De Exposicao Do Correio
- Brazil, Curitiba, Casa Andrade Muricy
- Brazil, Rio De Janeiro, Espaco Cultural Dos Correios
- Brazil, Sao Paulo, Centro Brasileiro Britanico
- UK, London, Crafts Council
- Japan, Shigaraki, The Shigaraku Ceramic Cultural Park
- Japan, Hiratsuka, Hiratsuka Museum Of Art
- Japan, Kasama, Kasama Nichido Museum Of Art
- Japan, Tokyo, Odakyu Museum
- Japan, Tochigi, Tochigi Prefectural Museum Of Fine Arts
- Russia, Leningrad, Hall Of The Union Of Soviet Artists
- Russia, Moscow, All Russian Museum of Applied, Decorative and Folk Art
- Japan, Kurosaki Sogo
- Japan, Nagoya, Meitetsu Department Store
- Japan, Kurashiki, Ohara Museum Of Art
- Japan, Tokyo, Mitsukoshi Museum
- Japan, Osaka, Hankyu, Umeda
- UK, London, Victoria And Albert Museum
- France, Belize
- Jordan, Amman, British Council Office - Amman
- Morocco, Rabat, Galerie Bab Ruah
- Australia, Australia
- Greece, British Council Office - Cyprus
- Australia, Art Gallery Of New South Wales
- Portugal, Porto, British Council Office - Porto
- Portugal, Coimbra, British Council Office - Coimbra
- Portugal, Lisbon, British Council Office - Lisbon