Alison Britton (1948 − )

Born 1948 in Harrow, Middlesex

After taking the Foundation Course at Leeds College of Art she studied ceramics at Central School of Art and Design from 1967-70 and the Royal College of Art from 1970-73

Throughout her career she has produced large slab-built vessels of earthenware with brightly-coloured gestural glazes painted on the exterior and sometimes spreading into the interior. Although her pieces are usually recognisably related to domestic wares particularly jugs and vases they have more presence than mere vessels. Her work has the familiarity of craft and the risk of modernist sculpture. Tanya Harrod has described her work as a “…synthesis between painting and sculpture” and her work has been exhibited with that of Louise Bourgeois and Paula Rego.

Britton has also been an inspired curator. Notable exhibitions include The Raw and the Cooked, (1993) a ceramics exhibition that toured to France, Taiwan, Japan and several British galleries. In 2009 she curated Three by one: a selection form three public craft collections at the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham She wrote a monograph on the woodworker Jim Partridge, published by Lund Humphries in 2003.

Since 1984 she has taught in the Ceramics and Glass Department of the RCA.

Britton's work has been shown internationally and her work is in such public collections as the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Los Angels County Museum of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Alison Britton was short listed for the Jerwood Prize for Applied Arts, Ceramics, 2001.

She was awarded the Order of the British Empire for Services to Art in 1990.

Glossary (7)

  • Ceramics

    Clay based products produced from non-metallic material and fired at high temperature. The term covers all objects made of fired clay, including earthenware, porcelain, stoneware and terra cotta.

  • Craft

    The creation of handmade objects intended to be both useful and decorative.

  • Curator

    A person who creates exhibitions or who is employed to look after and research museum objects.

  • Design

    The arrangement of elements or details in an artefact or a work of art.

  • Earthenware

    One of the three major types of pottery, the others being stoneware and porcelain. It is opaque, soft and porous unless covered completely with glaze. The firing temperatures can be low - 800ºC or high - 1200ºC, when it starts to vitrify, becoming stoneware.

  • Painting

    Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.

  • Sculpture

    A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.

JavaScript is disabled in your browser. This will degrade or remove some of the website's functionality. Try enabling JavaScript. JavaScript is disabled in your browser. This will degrade or remove some of the website's functionality. Try enabling JavaScript.