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DateLecture
10 October 2019The Ethical versus the Expressive: The story of British studio pottery.
12 September 2019Travellers among Mountains & Streams: masterpieces of Chinese landscape painting
13 June 2019Influences in Photography
09 May 2019Edouard Manet and Music
11 April 2019Sir Stanley Spencer – his autobiography in pictures
14 March 2019Ocean Liners Art – the ships that shaped our lives
14 February 2019Leonardo – his anatomical drawings
16 January 2019Buffet Lunch and Lecture on Miniatures
13 December 2018Film as an Art Form
08 November 2018Managing the R.A. 250th Anniversary
11 October 2018Kyoto Festivals
13 September 2018Strranger than Fiction:the incredible story of Jan van Eyck’s Great Altar Piece at Ghent
14 June 2018TAJ MAHAL "THE GARDEN TOMB"
10 May 2018Who was Bruegel? Discovering the Master through his Sons
12 April 2018Gaudi and Catalan Modernista Architecture
08 March 2018 Henry Moore from Past to Present
08 February 2018More than Meets the Eye: Artists and Camouflage
14 December 2017Christmas and other Festivals in Modern Mexico
09 November 2017Cartier: Jeweller of Genius
12 October 2017From Fleapit to Picture Palace: Cinema Architecture in Britain
14 September 2017Mosaics in Ravenna
08 June 2017The Punch and Judy Show
11 May 2017The Glasgow Girls –Women in Art and Design in Glasgow
13 April 2017Three hundred and sixteen years later – the conservation of the Raphael Cartoon Paintings at Knole.
09 March 2017The Cult of the South Pacific – from Cook to Gaugin
09 February 2017Textiles – from the Middle Ages to this Millenium
12 January 2017Napoleon & Josephine – collections at Malmaison
08 December 2016The Fascinating World of Playing Cards
10 November 2016Lawrence of Arabia - Excavating a Legend
13 October 2016Adventures in 3 Dimensions: 20th Century Sculpture in Britain.
08 September 2016The Golden Age of Venetian Glass
09 June 2016Satirist to Insanity: celebrating the life and work of James Gillray
12 May 2016London’s Changing Skyline: Past, Present & Future
14 April 2016Income and Inspiration – Financial Secrets of the Masters
10 March 2016Tradition & Innovation in the Art of Jacopo Tintoretto
11 February 2016The Elgin Marbles
14 January 2016English Furniture Design Today
10 December 2015The Master: Noel Coward as a writer, actor & painter
12 November 2015English Cathedrals:
08 October 2015Pomp & Grandeur: Gardens of the Stuart Court
10 September 2015Faber & Faber – Its Design & History
11 June 2015Modern Art & The Old Masters
21 May 2015Stories in Stained Glass
09 April 2015In Paynted Pots is Hidden the Deadliest Poyson
12 March 2015Threads of History. The World of the Bayeux Tapestry.
12 February 2015World Fairs 1851-1900: International Exhibitions, their Scope and Influence
08 January 2015The Importance of Colour in Painting
11 December 2014St Nicholas of Myra and Santa Claus -- a case of mistaken identity.
13 November 2014Murder and Modernism -- Walter Richard Sickert and the Campden Group
09 October 2014'Your Country Needs You"- Art and design of World War I'
11 September 2014Three Romantics: Chopin, Delacroix and Georges Sand
12 June 2014‘From the Underworld – Allegory and Narrative in the garden’
08 May 2014‘The Day Parliament Burned Down’
10 April 2014Creating a Splash The St. Ives Society of Artists’ (1927-52)
13 March 2014Botticelli’s Florence
13 February 2014Helms, Hatchments and Hedgehogs,...introduction to everyday heraldry
09 January 2014Tricks of the light – illusion of light and shadow in Western art
12 December 2013Is Christmas in good taste?
14 November 2013Two London porcelain factories – Chelsea and Bow – a study in contrasts.
10 October 2013 Australian Aboriginal Art – Rock, Bark, Ochre
12 September 2013‘The Czech’s in the Poster’
13 June 2013Bernini and Baroque Rome
09 May 2013Tailoring the image- clothing and accessories in art
11 April 2013Bob the Roman : The Genius of Robert Adam
14 March 2013Poet in Paint- the Art and Life of Paul Nash 1889-1946
14 February 2013Peru: the Incas and their predecessors seen through their art and textiles
17 January 2013A Peep behind the Scenes – the life and art of Thomas Rowlandson 1756-1827
13 December 2012Upstairs and Downstairs : A Victorian Christmas
08 November 2012From the Sublime to the Ridiculous – Venetian Glass 1450-1900
11 October 2012Angry Young Men – the Pre-Raphaelites
13 September 2012The Great Twelve

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The Ethical versus the Expressive: The story of British studio pottery. Oliver Watson Thursday 10 October 2019

The making of pottery has since time immemorial ranged from the purely functional to the purely decorative or artistic. In the second half of the twentieth century, studio potters in the UK faced each other in sometimes acrimonious debate over the nature of “real” pottery. Should it conform to the views of Bernard Leach and his followers in taking an ethical stance in the making of honest, traditional functional ware? Or could it be a fine art, as expressive and free in its form as any fine art, as demonstrated in the bright colours and modernistic shapes of Lucie Rie’s vases or Hans Coper’s sculptures? Opinions differed widely and were argued with great conviction.

This debate in various guises goes back much further - to the days of William Morris, to the advocates of industrial design, and is greatly complicated and enriched for example by Lucie Rie’s claim to be “just a potter”, or Bernard Leach’s claim and practice as a fine artist.

This lecture will show how these different strands are intertwined, and how they combined to produce a landscape of enormous variety and vitality in the making of studio pottery in Britain over the last century.

This lecture will be richly illustrated, and a small number of original pots from the Leach pottery and by “expressive” potters will be available to see (and possibly handle!).