ceramics, timeline, 29th, century, present
Woman with a dog, Germany, Munich, 1916. Museum no. C.21-1955
Woman with a dog
Made at the Nymphenburg porcelain factory; designed and modelled by Paul Scheurich (1888-1945)
Museum no. C.21-1955
At the Nymphenburg factory in Munich, Paul Scheurich was inspired by the 18th-century figures of Franz Anton Bustelli. He created a series reviving the refined spirit of Bustelli, but in a contemporary style, which revitalised porcelain figure production in Germany.
Bubbles vase, England, Staffordshire, In production 1920–41. Museum no. C.90-1988
Designed by Daisy Makeig-Jones (1881-1945); made by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons
In production 1920-41
Bone china, printed and painted, with lustre glazes and additional gold print
Museum no. C.90-1988
Given by Suzanne and Frederic Weinstein
Wedgwood's Fairyland lustreware was populated by elves and fairies. The design followed contemporary book illustration, but the shapes and density of decoration derive from Chinese porcelains of 1680-1720. The colours were inspired in part by the Russian Ballet.
The decoration was a technical tour de force, achieved by a complex layering of underglaze and overglaze painting and gilding.
Art Deco vase, France, Bordeaux, 1928–30. Museum no. C.292-1987
Art Deco vase
Designed and decorated by René Buthaud (1886-1986)
Stoneware with crackled glaze, painted in enamels and lustre
Museum no. C.292-1987
The Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s used boldly geometric and modernist designs. But it also absorbed influences from across the world. René Buthaud was particularly fascinated by African art, which is reflected in the vase's patterning.
Stoneware bottle, Japan, Mashiko, about 1931. Museum no. Circ.348-1939
Made by Hamada Shoji (1894-1978)
Stoneware, with off-white glaze
Museum no. Circ.348-1939
Given by the Contemporary Art Society
Hamada Shoji was a leading artist of the Japanese folk craft movement. He was closely associated with its founder, Yanagi Soetsu, and the pioneer English studio potter, Bernard Leach, with whom he worked in the 1920s. Like other members of the movement, he was an admirer of Korean ceramics. This is evident in the bottle's faceting and off-white glaze.
Argenta vase, Sweden, Stockholm, Designed about 1930, made 1954. Museum no. C.129-1984
Designed by Wilhelm Kåge (1889-1960); made at the Gustavsberg ceramic factory
Designed about 1930, made 1954
Stoneware, with matt glaze, inlaid with silver
Museum no. C.129-1984
Given by A.B. Gustavsberg
The Argenta range was launched at the 1930 Stockholm exhibition, where Sweden became recognised as a major force in international design.
Combining bold modern shapes with engraved silver inlay, often in Neo-classical style, the Argenta range represented the utmost in luxury. Yet its designer, Wilhelm Kåge, also pioneered low-cost, highly functional modernist kitchen and table wares.
Tea service, Austria, Vienna, about 1936. Museum no. C.34 to E-1982
Made by Lucie Rie (1902-95)
Red earthenware, burnished
Museum no. C.34 to E-1982
Given by Lucie Rie
Lucie Rie is one of the 20th century's most celebrated potters. The flaring bowls and vases of her post-war period in Britain are greatly admired for their subtlety and delicacy.
This group of teawares exemplifies her earlier, Viennese period, which responds to modernism, but also draws on classical and archaic art. These pieces reflect Rie's interest in Roman burnished redwares.
Museum service, USA, Pennsylvania, Designed 1942–3, produced from 1946. Museum no. Circ.161 to 163-1953
Designed by Eva Zeisel (born 1906); made by the Castleton China Company
Designed 1942-3, produced from 1946
Museum no. Circ.161 to 163-1953
Given by Castleton China Inc.
Eva Zeisel's Museum service was commissioned by New York's Museum of Modern Art. It was the first undecorated white porcelain service made in the USA.
The service responded to the functionalism and restraint of modernism, but also explored the expressive potential of forms. It exemplifies the sophisticated organic style that dominated post-war ceramic design.
Vase, England, St Ives, about 1957. Museum no. Circ.115-1958
Made by Bernard Leach (1887-1979)
England, St Ives
Stoneware, with tenmoku glaze and incised decoration
Museum no. Circ.115-1958
Bernard Leach's ideas shaped the development of studio pottery in the 20th century. After encountering ceramics in Japan, he established the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall in 1920.
This vase recalls the wares of Song dynasty China (960-1279) that Leach admired. By the time it was made in the late 1950s, making pottery by hand had moved from being a rarefied activity to a widespread movement, partly under Leach's influence.
Portrait of Zhou Enlai, China, Jingdezhen, 1965–75. Museum no. FE.36-1990
Portrait of Zhou Enlai
Painted by Wu Kang (born 1914)
Porcelain, painted in enamels
Museum no. FE.36-1990
Simon Kwan Gift
Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) was the first premier of the People's Republic of China. His portrait has the accuracy of a photograph, but has been painstakingly painted in enamels on porcelain. The artist Wu Kang was praised for his ability to bring out the inner life of his subjects.
Pot, England, Somerset, 1968. Museum no. Circ.208-1969
Made by Hans Coper (1920-81)
White stoneware, with layers of white and manganese slip
Museum no. Circ.208-1969
Hans Coper's sculptural use of clay made him one of the most significant potters of the post-war years. His exploration of a consistent vocabulary of forms radically extended the artistic scope of pottery. Coper was influenced by archaic pottery and work in other materials. Here the abraded surface recalls metal or stone.
Burnished pot, England, Hampshire, 1983. Museum no. C.78-1984
Made by Magdalene Odundo (born 1950)
Red earthenware, burnished and reduction-fired to black
Museum no. C.78-1984
Given by the Friends of the V&A
Magdalene Odundo's sensuous ceramic vessels reflect the wider range of sources embraced by the studio pottery movement today. Her hand-built pots seem of our own time, but also remain rooted in African traditions. Abstract and sculptural, their forms make subtle allusions to the human figure.
Untitled Vessel, USA, Los Angeles, 1985. Museum no. C.53&A-1986
Made by Adrian Saxe (born 1943)
USA, Los Angeles
Stoneware and porcelain
Museum no. C.53&A-1986
Given by Mark and Fredda Hindenburg
Quotation and subversion of historic styles are key elements of postmodern design and have been widely used by late 20th-century potters. Here Adrian Saxe parodies the opulence of early European porcelains by introducing exaggerated forms and surfaces. The proportions of his pot defy our expectations: its foot has the scale of a body, while the body is formed as a handle.
Geological Age V, Japan, Kyoto, 1992. Museum no. FE.563-1992
Geological Age V
Made by Akiyama Yo (born 1953)
Carbon-impregnated earthenware, partly polished
Museum no. FE.563-1992
Akiyama Yo's sculpture exemplifies a major strand in ceramic practice today. He uses ceramic materials to produce contemporary works of art that make little reference to potters' traditional concerns.
Here he explores the primordial nature of clay, creating an arresting composition suggestive of the forms and forces of our geological past.
Siphoned Modernism, England, Brighton, 2001. Museum no. C.67-2005
Made by Richard Slee (born 1946)
Earthenware, hand-built, with white glaze and polythene tube
Museum no. C.67-2005
Given by the artist
Richard Slee often adopts elements of the uncanny and the surreal to provide a commentary on ceramic history.
In this piece, a simple, apparently modernist vessel is fitted with an outlet pipe that loops back to its interior, seemingly endlessly recycling the contents. As the wry humour of the title suggests, the work offers a critique of the revival of modernist design in contemporary craft.
The Bellringer, Russia, St Petersburg, 1920–1. Museum no. C.250-1991
Made at the State Porcelain Factory; designed and possibly decorated by Alexandra Shchekotikhina-Pototskaya (1892-1967) using a blank made in 1911
Porcelain, painted in enamels and gilded
Russia, St Petersburg
Museum no. C.250-1991
After the Russian Revolution, the former Imperial Porcelain Factory made ceramics as propaganda. They were painted with slogans and designs in a variety of styles, and some of Russia's most radical artists were involved in their production. Subjects included scenes from daily life and folklore.
The plate shows a figure ringing bells to celebrate the 8th Congress of Soviets.
Vase with clematis, Netherlands, The Hague, 1904. Museum no. C.41-1972
Vase with clematis
Netherlands, The Hague
Bone china, painted in enamels
Made at the Rozenburg porcelain factory; designed by J. Juriaan Kok (1861-1919); painted by J. Schellink (1876-1958) and J.M. van Rossum (1881-1963)
Museum no. C.41-1972
The short-lived Rozenburg factory produced some of the world's best Art Nouveau ceramics. The style is typified by elongated organic shapes and sinuous curving lines. Rozenburg china is so thinly cast that the material is often described as 'eggshell porcelain'. The painted decoration here combines elements of French and Belgian Art Nouveau styles with the spareness and generous white space of Japanese design.