Friday, 8 April 2011

Crowan Pottery

I recently found this delightful piece of studio pottery in a local charity shop. I was pleased to help them raise money for their good cause and have the pleasure of this work of art, far better reward than a sticky badge!

Here goes for the story !! I often find that I derive as much pleasure from the research and investigating the histories than simply owning the object, after all without the history it is just a brown pot with a squiggle painted on it.

This is want us Brits call studio pottery, distinct from art pottery which is subtly different. In this case from the Crowan Pottery which was run by Harry and May Davis in Cornwall. Harry has a good pottery pedigree with all the necessary Leach and Cardew associations and his inclusion in public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Harry Davis (1911-86) studied at the Bournemouth School of Art before working at a small pottery in Broadstone, Dorset. By 1932 he was working with Bernard Leach at Dartington before helping run the Leach St Ives pottery during the period 1933 until 1937. This was a period when both Bernard and his son David where absent. From there he was teaching in Ghana, a position later taken by Michael Cardew before establishing the Crowan Pottery.

Harry worked in partnership with his wife May and together the established the Crowan Pottery at Praze in Cornwall in c1946. It during this period that the pot shown was created. These pots a have real tactile quality with a deep rich celadon type glaze. Not like the Leach tradition of crude looking pots with thin textured glazes, however genunely artist they are.

The majority of item produced were domestic tea, coffee and dinner ware with a smaller but significant number of decorative items. The 3 items in the V&A collection are a bowl, teapot and a coffee pot similar in decoration to the above. The wares are usually marked with an impressed CP monogram seal, although it can be difficult to see through the lovely running thick glazes. The pottery continued until it's closure in 1962 after which the couple emigrated to New Zealand to established a pottery called Crewenna.

These pots are well worth looking out for and once handled, their distinctive feel makes them easier to spot across a crowded field of happy booters. 
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