For almost one hundred years, British potters have led the way in re-inventing traditional ceramic forms. Things of Beauty Growing showcases the history and ongoing practice of one of the most dynamic art forms in the UK today, by tracing the changing nature of British studio pottery through the evolution of specific types of vessel: the moon jar, vase, bowl, charger, set, vessel, pot and monument. Featuring works from museums and private collections across the UK and America, the exhibition shows that studio pottery is a global story, with pots and potters travelling between Britain, continental Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond.
This exhibition is the largest of its kind in recent times, with over 100 historic and contemporary ceramics by potters including Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Edmund de Waal, Alison Britton, Grayson Perry and Julian Stair.
As part of the exhibition, Clare Twomey’s monumental Made in China will be installed around the Museum. Comprising 80 large-scale porcelain vases, it highlights the difference in labour conditions between East and West.
Things of Beauty Growing is a collaboration with Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (USA), where it was first displayed and co-curated by Martina Droth (Deputy Director of Research and Curator of Sculpture at YCBA); Glenn Adamson (Senior Research Scholar at YCBA); and Simon Olding (Director, Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, UK).
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue of the same name, available to purchase from the Courtyard Shop.
Work by some of the artists featured in this exhibition will be included in a special display, curated jointly by the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Crafts Council, at Collect, the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects (Saatchi Gallery, London, 22-25 February 2018).
Image: Halima Cassel, Virtues of Unity © The Artist • Photography by Jon Stokes