Bernard Leach Life and Work Emmanuel Cooper

Publication date:
25 Feb 2020
Paul Mellon Centre
440 pages: 235 x 156mm
26 color + 79 b-w illus.

An exceptionally thoughtful and well-written biography of one of the most influential studio potters in Britain

Widely recognized as the father of studio pottery, Bernard Leach (1887–1979) played a pioneering role in creating an identity for artist potters in Britain and around the world. Born in the East (Hong Kong) and educated in the West (England), throughout his life Leach perceived himself as a courier between the disparate cultures. His exquisite pots reflect the inspiration he drew from East and West as well as his response to the basic tenets of modernism—truth to materials, the importance of function to form, and simplicity of decoration. This outstanding biography provides for the first time a vivid and detailed account of Leach’s life and its relation to his art.
Emmanuel Cooper, himself a potter of international reputation, explores Leach’s working methods, the seams of his pottery, his writings and philosophy, his recognition in Japan and Britain, and his continuing legacy, bringing into sharp focus a complex man who captured in his work as a potter the “still center” that always eluded him in his tumultuous personal life.

Emmanuel Cooper was a distinguished potter, writer, and visiting professor in the ceramics and glass program at the Royal College of Art in London.

"Emmanuel Cooper is a distinguished potter and writer on the crafts, and his biography of the great potter Bernard Leach is an impressive piece of work, well-informed, thoughtful and clearly written."---Journal of William Morris Society Studies

"[A] magisterial biography. . . . Fascinating."—Emma Crichton-Miller