Friday, 29 March 2013

Visit to Fitzwilliam Museum Report

Claire Blakey of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery reports:

On Monday 25th March 2013 the Ceramics Network joined forces with the Northern Ceramic Society for a visit to an exhibition of contemporary ceramics at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Despite the very un-spring like temperatures, there were 15 participants, from as far away as York and Bath. There was a good mixture of museum professionals, collectors, academics and enthusiasts. The exhibition, China's White Gold, is visually stunning and as most of the work was made especially for it, an amazing opportunity to see what potters in Jingdezhen are producing. This varies from ware made in traditional styles to pieces which are consciously contemporary in style and execution.
It includes a section on pieces which are reproductions of antique porcelain, shown alongside pieces from the Fitzwilliam's collection as comparatives. It also showcases work by international artists working in Jingdezhen: Felicity Aylieff, Takeshi Yasuda and Caroline Cheng.

One of the star pieces is a vase (Happy and Glorious) made by students of the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute to mark Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This is decorated with auspicious symbols, including a dragon, lotus flowers and cranes.

The visit was made much more informative by the insights and observations of Victoria Avery and Tao-Tao Chang of the Fitzwilliam, who very kindly organised this. Our grateful thanks to them.

We are hoping to plan a ceramics study day at the Fitzwilliam in the near future so keep an eye out for it!

Images from the exhibition shown here ©Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Enlightenment & Discovery; The Ceramic Legacy

The Northern Ceramic Society (NCS) is pleased to announce its 2013 Summer School: 
Enlightenment & Discovery; The Ceramic Legacy

This four day seminar will present a series of lectures which will touch on the Enlightenment movement and explore the ways in which discoveries, scientific progress and enlightened thinking have influenced British ceramics. 

From the early experiments and development of British ceramics, through technological progress and social change, we will look at the processes and the pioneers who made it possible.

Speakers to include:

Gaye Blake-Roberts
Nick Berthoud
Rosie Cooke
Robin Emmerson
Graham Maclaren
Nick Panes
Deborah Skinner
Sue Taylor
Pam Woolliscroft

Further speakers to be confirmed.

Click here for our Events Page and scroll to 14-18 August 2013 for full details including fees, contact email and bursaries. 

Mysterious Ming at the Museum Princessehof

Mysterious Ming is an exhibition at the Museum Princessehof which runs until 27th October 2013. Below is information about the museum. Click here for full details on our exhibitions page and scroll to 24 March.

The Museum Princessehof collection is the most important collection of Asian ceramics in the Netherlands. It is housed in three historical buildings in Leeuwarden, the capital of the province of Friesland. They served in the eighteenth century as the residence of the German princess Maria-Louise von Hessen-Kassel (1688-1765), who married Johan Willem Friso of Oranje-Nassau (1687-1711) in 1709. A beautiful period room, decorated with Oriental porcelain displayed in the contemporary fashionable style of Daniel Marot and once the original dining room of Marie-Louise, has been preserved. It was only in the twentieth century that these building were used as a museum.

The museum was opened to the public in 1917 and was meant to foster the arts and crafts traditions which united Europe and Asia. The collections displayed there were based on the broad and profuse collections of a notary public from Leeuwarden, Nanne Ottema (1874-1955) and his wife Grietje Kingma (1873-1950). Already as a young man Nanne Ottema had developed a lively interest in a broad range of collectibles, which grew to some 25,000 to 30,000 items according to his own estimate. His interests lay particularly in Friesian cultural heritage and Asian ceramics. Nanne Ottema became the museum’s first director and continued in this position until his death in 1955. His interests in Chinese ceramics lead him to begin systematic research on this subject. In 1943, his Handbook of Chinese Ceramics was published.

With his passion and his broad network of friends, dealers and collector, he had amassed at that time some 4,000 pieces of Asian ceramics. A collection of Chinese ceramics from the Ming period (1368-1644) in particular is of outstanding quality and forms the core of the collection.

In 1973 Keramiekmuseum Princessehof reopened as a museum exclusively devoted to ceramics –Asian as well as European- as the Nationale Nederlands Keramiekmuseum, the Netherlands National Museum of Ceramics.