Richard Batterham and Friends

Richard Batterham (1936-2021) was dedicated to living a self-sufficient life with his family in Durweston, Dorset, tending to his garden and making pots every day. He referred to his lifestyle as a ‘quietness of living’.

Batterham undertook every stage of the process of making pottery himself, from processing raw clay to firing his huge three-chamber oil-fired climbing kiln. He made useful pots based on successful forms that he developed over the years: jugs, bottles, plates, mugs, bowls and storage jars. These he could scale up or down effortlessly. Despite repeatedly throwing the same forms, he achieved singularity in each piece with variations in size, decoration and glaze – usually wood ash, manganese, or salt-glaze.

He first learned pottery at Bryanston School, Dorset, under Donald Potter (1902-2004) and in 1957 began two-year apprenticeship at the Leach pottery where he met his wife Dinah Dunn (1930-2007). It was here that Shoji Hamada’s son Atsuya Hamada (1929 – 1986) introduced him to the kick-wheel, its gentle momentum influencing his style throughout his career.

He supervised his major retrospective exhibition at the V&A in 2021 and passed away later in the same year aged 85. He requested that his works were distributed among selected museums in Britain as gifts, and he was particularly keen that the Ceramic Collection at Aberystwyth should receive a selection.

These fifteen pieces compliment those by him already in the collection and are shown alongside works by some of his friends including Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (1935-2013), another Leach apprentice who gave Richard advice on clay bodies; the French potter Thiébaut Chagué  (b.1958) who helped him build a salt kiln in 1978; John Maltby (1936-2020), his lifetime friend and the printmaker Richard Bawden (b. 1936) son of Edward Bawden (1903-1989) and fellow Bryanston school friend, with whom he had his first exhibition in 1964.

Richard Batterham, Master Potter:

There will be a free screening of the full length film in the Arts Centre Cinema at a later date.

See the Arts Centre website for further details:

With kind permission from the Joanna Bird Foundation

Work from the Ceramic Collection featured in this exhibition

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