Bernard Howell Leach
English (born in Hong Kong), 1887–1979
stoneware, tenmoku glaze
38.2 x 18.5 x 17.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. William L. Morton in memory of her husband
It is fitting that this vase by Bernard Leach was among the first donations to the newly formed WAG studio collection in 1982. Leach was a major influence in the British studio pottery movement. Raised and educated in Hong Kong, Leach developed an appreciation for Asian ceramics and traditions at an early age, training in the field under Japanese masters. He established the Leach Pottery studio with his friend Shōji Hamada in St. Ives, Cornwall, England. This studio became an important teaching centre for ceramics, producing generations of British studio potters. There Leach advocated for the understanding of pottery as a synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophies and artistic approaches. For some 50 years he produced utilitarian “ethical” pots, like the WAG vase, which exhibit austerity, formalism, and a strict adherence to simple functionality.