Ceramic wonders come to the Fitzwilliam Museum in two new exhibitions
“Pottery is at once the simplest and most difficult of all arts,” said art historian Herbert Read in 1931.
It’s also one of the most exciting: ancient and elemental, yes, but continually evolving too – it’s one of the most dynamic art forms in the UK today.
Celebrate ceramics this month at the Fitzwilliam’s Things of Beauty Growing exhibition, a show that features the work of more than 50 potters including Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Edmund de Waal, Alison Britton, Grayson Perry and Julian Stair.
The largest of its kind in recent times, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Fitz and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven (USA) where it was first displayed, and tells the story of studio pottery in Britain.
The exhibition traces the history of the medium through eight key sections dedicated to different forms – moon jar, vase, bowl, charger, set, vessel, pot and monument, as well as displaying the striking Made in China installation, which comprises 80 huge red and gold porcelain vases.
“This is a perfect fit for The Fitzwilliam as the exhibition speaks to our impressive permanent collection of ceramics, ancient and modern, which continues to grow due to the generosity of donors such as Sir Nicholas Goodison,” says director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Tim Knox. “Displayed in our temporary exhibition galleries, Things of Beauty Growing has given us the opportunity to highlight this particular strength of the Museum, and has encouraged us to look at our own collections in a new light. It has also enabled us to highlight the important collections of British studio pottery held in other UK museums, who have so generously lent to the show.”
Running alongside Things of Beauty Growing is Flux, a contemporary ceramics show curated by Matt Smith. Showcasing Parian – a fine, marble-like porcelain, Flux features more than a hundred sculptural busts, challenging traditional readings of historical figures.
Things of Beauty Growing runs until 17 June.