Bernard Leach

Life and Work

Emmanuel Cooper

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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 is an artist potter and visiting professor of ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art in London. He is editor of Ceramic Review: The International Magazine of Ceramic Art and Craft and has published many books and articles on the visual arts.

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

“This volume supplies information never before known about an individual identified with the concept that pots were made both for everyday use and as individual works of art.”—Choice

"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

"Cooper is an impeccable researcher. . . . The strength of Cooper’s writing is the richness of its detail. . . . Cooper must be congratulated for writing this much-needed biography. It is a book which will become the standard reference for Leach, and appeal to a general audience as well as the specialist reader."—Julian Stair, World of Interiors (UK)
ISBN: 9780300099294
Publication Date: July 9, 2003
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
488 pages, 6 x 9.25
Lucie Rie

Modernist Potter

Emmanuel Cooper

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