Acclaimed as the foremost living maker of domestic stoneware in the world, Richard is very sadly not now expecting to throw more pots.
Thank you to everyone for the massive response we have had. Sadly there were only a few pots and they have now all sold out.
We do still have copies of the booklet:
Richard Batterham at 80 by Anna Powell is back in print for the exhibition at £10 plus £1.50 p&p. 36 page, 14.85 x 21 cm full colour paperback booklet.
Written after long interviews and many conversations with Richard Batterham, and approved by him, it tells the story of his working life with advice he would want to pass on to young potters and photographs of his pots, his workshop and of Richard at work.
Born 1936, Richard Batterham became interested in pottery at a very young age at Bryanston School, where an interest in craft and design was greatly encouraged. He learnt under the guidance of Donald Potter, who was a student of Eric Gill and had also worked with Michael Cardew at Winchcombe. After National Service, Batterham worked for two years under Bernard Leach at the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. There he and his future wife, Dinah Dunn, met Atsuya Hamada, a son of Shoji Hamada. ‘I think we got a lot from him,’ Batterham says, ‘about how to handle clay. We were very lucky.’
In 1959 they left to set up their own pottery at Durweston outside Blandford. In 1967 Batterham moved into a new pottery workshop in Durweston and built a four-chambered oil and wood-fired kiln. In 1978 with the help of the French potter Thiebaut Chaque, he also built a small salt glaze kiln.
Still in the same pottery, he has always worked alone doing all the processes himself from digging the clay to labelling the pots. His pots are often referred to as being in in the Leach tradition, although he feels more in tune with the attitudes of Michael Cardew. His pots are made to enrich life rather than to adorn it. A superb craftsman, his colours are soft celadon blues and greens through to caramel (Manganese), browns and blacks with the nature of his glazes varying from thin and bright to thicker softer glazes. His forms are functional – simple, satisfying and beautiful. Some pots, he says, ‘call out to me that they are really good ones’ and these are the pots we have always been delighted to show.
Describing his own pots, Richard Batterham refers to some of them as ’soft’ or ‘kind’, emphasising their human quality. ‘Michael Cardew used to say form was everything, and form is very important, but I tend to feel that it’s how the clay is handled that really makes a difference. I like to make something you can hold. If someone really hugs onto a pot, that’s lovely and just how it should be.’ Brushing away his own pre-eminence, he says, ‘You just get into the right frame of mind and get on with it.’
Richard Batterham’s work is in numerous museums, including the Tate and the V&A, as well as in private collections all over the world. Sladers Yard is proud to have held regular major selling exhibitions of his work annually.
The pots shown below are from Richard Batterham’s last full firing (apart from 803 and 811 which were fired earlier in the summer). Richard’s son Reuben fired these pots with him. Please note that they are all now SOLD.