Richard Batterham pottery

Richard Batterham

Acclaimed as the foremost living maker of domestic stoneware in the world, Richard is very sadly not now able to throw more pots. At Sladers Yard we have been honoured to sell Richard’s work regularly over the last eleven years. Our most recent exhibition was of pots he’d had put aside, throughout his long career, in a private collection he used for his own reference and as a record of his work. Some he chose because they marked a significant development that he wanted to replicate and others because they were ideal versions of a form. With the help of his son, the potter Reuben Batterham, Richard decided to release a good number of these pots, some from his final firings and some dating back as far as the 1960s.

Richard Batterham: pots from the artist’s own private collection

Saturday 7 March  (SOLD OUT)

Richard Battterham’s pots are available to view below. Thank you to everyone who came to the opening or was able to visit since.  The response to this show was phenomenal and at the end of the first week all 175 pots were sold. 

If you would like to know about other ceramic shows we are putting on, please subscribe for our email invitations and news following the link on this page or email us on gallery@sladersyard.co.uk and we will add you to the ceramics interest list.

Richard Batterham booklet cover web

Richard Batterham at 80 has been reprinted!

Richard Batterham at 80 by Anna Powell, 36 page, 14.85 x 21 cm full colour paperback booklet. 2nd edition SOLD OUT

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.

George Young, whose family are neighbours of Richard Batterham, has made a short film that gets to the heart of this lovable and deeply inspiring craftsman and artist. 

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 Thiébaut Chagué, 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  major annual selling exhibitions of his work since 2009.

The pots from our most recent Richard Batterham exhibition can be seen below. The exhibition is SOLD OUT.

Richard Batterham Pots from the artist’s own private collection

Last four firings: RB939 – 1001

The last 60 years: RB1002 – 1110

A walk around the exhibition just before it opened:

31 Responses to Richard Batterham pottery

  1. Charl Spencer says:

    By any chance has Richard ever done any chalices? I came across a drip glaze stoneware chalice/goblet creme with blue and green (closely resembling a couple of his pieces) impressed with RB. (The impression is not easily interpreted but my best guess is that it’s RB. I could be wrong.) I’ve scoured through a lot of available photos of his work and thought I might just ask someone if it’s possible he created it. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your response!

    • Sladers Yard says:

      Thanks for your comment. Richard has made chalices but he does not usually mark his work. We have only represented Richard for the last ten years or so and cannot comment on his earlier work.

  2. I was fortunate to meet Richard Batterham at his pottery in Durweston in the very early ’80s. I returned to Blandford Forum each summer since then, to teach at a music festival at the Bryanston School. Each year, I would visit Richard and return to Chicago with more of his wonderful pots. I recently collected them from all over the house to photograph and discovered that I owned 48. I was always especially attracted to the teapots and have one of every size and style. But my favorites are the small lidded spice jars. Each one so beautiful and unique. Over the years I have collected many other potter’s work, but it is always Richard’s pots that I am drawn to visually and want to hold in my hands. Enjoy your retirement Richard!

  3. William Hopkins says:

    Correction to my name……………..!

  4. William Hoplins says:

    If we were to meet, Richard would probably have difficulty in remembering me, notwithstanding that years ago I visited him several times at Durweston and acquired the first of his pots more than fifty years ago. He set a standard as a young man and has never deviated from it; it might at first sight be said that his range is limited but when viewed over a period of fifty years there has been a wide variation within that seemingly “limited” range which has always kept his work fresh, always with something new to see. Alongside the humble supper plates and mixing bowls magnificent work has been done. Over the years I have accumulated a group of Richard’s work which convinces me of his great stature as an artist of the first rank and I take pleasure in every one of his pots and a certain pride in having acquired them. I have accumulated much other work as well by “masters” which might be described as Modern British: somehow out of the tens of thousands of practising artists and craftspeople producing vast quantities of work since my date of birth I seem to have selected work by some of the very best makers and artists of the last eighty years. Richard’s work measures-up to the highest standards of British fine art of the twentieth century; he has seen his way through life (to use an expression applied to Hamada) in no different a way than other British masters who have attained true eminence. But he is one of a very few and deserves to be recognised not as a great craftsman (which he is), but as a great British artist as well, of which there are only a handful in any generation.

    • Sladers Yard says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. It is those who live with Richard’s work who truly appreciate it. Perhaps because it is so strong in a quiet authentic way. I wish I could see your collection of art and craft which sounds fabulous.

  5. Stephen Price says:

    Thanks for hosting the exhibition(s): so glad I made the last. There are few domestic ware potters of Richard’s stature, if any but it would be great if you continued to exhibit ceramics in your excellent space. Yummy cakes too.

    Stephen. Co. Galway.

    • Sladers Yard says:

      Thank you Stephen. We certainly shall continue to exhibit ceramics and are delighted to have a solo show of Mike Dodd’s work opening on 2nd May. Meanwhile we have some stunning pots by Paul Wearing, Akiko Hirai, Franny Owen and Sue Ure in stock now and available to buy.

  6. Bernadette Gervin says:

    Richard’s pots are wonderful. Sorry you are stopping making them. Your generation of potters
    is the best!! Enjoy your retirement.

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  9. Ian Borrow says:

    Love your pots Richard – keep ’em coming… My new bowl is the centre of attention in our living room. I look forward to drinking my soup from one of your bowls in the near future..!! Well worth travelling half the length of the country to collect.!! Many thanks…

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  12. Brian Elias says:

    Only one word to describe Richard Batterhams pots…..Sublime.

  13. Peter Swanson says:

    Richard is one of a rare breed.. most wonderful pots. Enjoy.

  14. Alan Shrimpton says:

    I have used Richard’s pots as my everyday ware for over 50 years. I have never got tired of them and cannot see that I ever shall. There are other good potters, more decorative perhaps, more ‘unconventional’ perhaps, more ‘modern’ perhaps – whatever that means, but the appeal of those I have owned has often faded over the years. An exception are those thrown by Mike Dodd, also taught by Don Potter when at school.

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  18. Willem Gebben says:

    I bought my first pot from Richard’s pottery when I was a student in 1976. This cut sided bowl and other pots I’m fortunate to own and use have enriched my life and inspired my own work. What I admire most is that they are timeless and seem to have always existed.

  19. Clare says:

    Could you let me know where it’s possible to buy Richard’s pottery? Many thanks

  20. Daryl Townsley says:

    please pass on to Mr. Batterham that we have many of his pots, use them every day and love them. Thank you so much!!

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