27 December 2017


These bowls with wide rims have become fashionable in recent years, and this one was used to serve our pudding in a restaurant on Christmas day. The wide rim allows the food to be shown off against the white background, and chefs now like to serve small main courses on large plates for similar reasons.

The bowl is a revival of a shape popular in Italy in the 16th century, called a tondino - but then the purpose of the wide rim was to support an elaborate decoration, and no potter would ever send a white one out of the factory. A tondino is a little tondo, a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture, from the the Italian rotondo, "round."

Here are a few from museum collections.

 Gubbio, c.1530. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 From the workshop of Maestro Lodovico, c.1540

 Casteldurante or Urbino, c.1535

Probably from the workshop of Maestro Giorgio Andreoli, Gubbio. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 Numerous tondinos were made with this pattern in Ottoman Iznik in the first half of the 16th century, examples of cultural exchange between Europe and the Islamic world. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

14 December 2017


After stewarding at London Potters yesterday, I went to the Slade open day. I was interested to see how much easel painting is being done. A student told that this is still its strength. There's a sculpture studio and a good range of printing equipment. There's also the option to specialise in media and there are good photo labs. But one still felt the ghost of Henry Tonks.


13 December 2017


Lyn Tillinghast

Today was the last day of the London Potters' annual exhibition at Morley College. It was the first time I exhibited with them, as I joined only a few months ago. The exhibits were of a high standard, especially considering that many of the entrants are not full-time potters.

Here are some of my favorites. I was stewarding today, which gave me a chance to take these pictures, but every time I walked round I saw something else I liked which had escaped my notice before. Several, though not all, of the entries shown here were commended by the judges. I also received a judges' commendation for the espresso cups I entered.

Lyndy Barletta

Buddy Hobbs

Simon Olley

Tushar Dawson

Carolyn Tripp

Jo Pethybridge

Ali Tomlin. Awarded Best in Show

My entry, three espresso cups

8 December 2017


One of the Hungarian ceramists illustrated in Gordon Forsyth’s 20th Century Ceramics is Lili Márkus, 1900-1960 (pictured above), who I was not familiar with. Lászlo Hradszki drew my attention to the catalogue of the exhibition of her work that was mounted in Budapest and Glasgow in 2012, which is available online.

Márkus had had a brief but successful career until she and her family left Hungary in 1939 and came to England, where they lived in Derbyshire. Her career contrasts with that of her ceramic contemporaries Margit Kovács, who adapted to the Communist regime and remained popular until her death, Eva Zeisel, who emigrated to the United States, where she also found success and had a very long life, and other Hungarian emigrés, notable Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Erno Goldfinger and Marcel Breuer, who also had successful careers. In her provincial isolation Márkus is comparable to Greta Marks, another ceramist of Jewish origin, who left Germany and settled in Stoke-on-Trent, but who, understandably, never adapted to the British ceramic industry.