Back to School

Continuing preparation for the forthcoming V&A display Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics I went back to school last week, well a ceramics summer school at Ellesmere College in Shropshire.

Ellesmere College Shropshire,  founded by Canon Nathanial Woodard in 1884, and originally opened as a boarding school for boys.

Ellesmere College Shropshire, founded by Canon Nathanial Woodard in 1884, and originally opened as a boarding school for boys.

The Northern Ceramic Society generously sponsored a bursary for me to attend as this year the programme was particularly relevant; ‘The Curious Art’: Printing on ceramics from c.1750 to the present day.

‘Lessons’ by experts in the field included former Brighton Museum and Art Gallery curator Stella Beddoe’s ‘History’ class Satire, Sensation and Sentiment – Social history in print on 18th and 19th century ceramics with illustrations from the fabulous Willett Collection of ‘Pottery and Porcelain illustrating Popular British History’.

'Revolutionary' pots on display, from the Willett Collection © Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

‘Revolutionary’ pots on display, from the Willett Collection © Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

The popularity of all things print in the 18th century is highlighted in the ‘Macaroni Print Shop’ of 1772.

Satirical print, seven men standing in front of the window of Darly's print shop looking at his caricature publications in the window. 14 July 1772 Etching © The Trustees of the British Museum

Satirical print, seven men standing in front of the window of Darly’s print shop looking at his caricature publications in the window. 14 July 1772 Etching
© The Trustees of the British Museum

The term ‘Macaroni’  referred to wealthy young men who wore elaborate attire reflecting their ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe and probably derives from the Macaroni Club, London, a fashionable dining society that specialised in foreign foods such as macaroni. Here the Macaroni laugh at those depicted in the satirical prints adorning the shop façade (prints that supplied the ceramics industry), as we laugh at the Macaroni in the print.

‘Craft, Design and Technology’ class was taught by Dr Alan Swale who discussed the different types of ceramic printing in the 20th century, including lithographic printed techniques as shown in this design by Susannah Margaretta “Daisy” Makeig Jones for Wedgwood, in the Wedgwood Museum Collection

Queens ware mug, commemorate the wedding of Lady Ursula Grosvenor, designed by Susannah Margaretta "Daisy" Makeig Jones, 1924 © Wedgwood Museum

Queens ware mug, commemorate the wedding of Lady Ursula Grosvenor, designed by Susannah Margaretta “Daisy” Makeig Jones, 1924 © Wedgwood Museum

There was also an ‘Art’ lesson from Paul Scott discussing his own work and that of other contemporary ceramic artists using printed techniques – Stephen Bowers, Robert Dawson, Leopold Foulem, Maria Geszler to name but a few……

Plate, 'Foot and Mouth no. 5', Paul Scott, England, 2001 reworked 2012. Acquired through the generosity of Gerard and Sarah Griffin © Victoria and Albert Museum / Paul Scott

Plate, ‘Foot and Mouth no. 5’, Paul Scott, England, 2001 reworked 2012. Acquired through the generosity of Gerard and Sarah Griffin © Victoria and Albert Museum / Paul Scott

After an intensive week of study I am now armed with a full notebook of references for the display.

Time to submit my homework!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *