This book, 9 years in the writing, is a real tribute to Lisa and Andrew Dowden and Robin Goodrege,
the authors, for their painstaking and thorough research into the historic and present day ceramicists on the Island.
It provides a fascinating insight not only into pottery making, but some elements of the Isle of Wights' history.
It starts with a short (15 page) summary of archaeological finds dating from Neolithic pots through to Medieval. It then focuses on the first half of the 20th century looking in detail at Pritchett Pottery, Isle of Wight Handcraft pottery Tom and Sybil Parsons (Yellowsands and Bembridge Potteries) and Harold Charlesworth. It explores their lives and has many pictures of both their work and period pictures of early workshops and surroundings (44 pages).
Part 2 covers the 1950's and the work of 7 potteries, showing many examples of their work including some interesting wall panel tiles by John Reilly and Joe Lester.
Part 3 and Part 4 address potting on the Island in the 1960's to 1990's giving images and profiles of a further 16 potters.
The concluding section discusses opportunities on the Island today to learn ceramics. It draws comparisons with 'mainland' trends and finally concludes that there are 'only a few home grown commercial working pottersÉ although there are plenty of opportunities both to learn and to show work.
This book gives a great insight into the lives and successes of local potters on the Island in the last 100 years. It is an invaluable and unique record for those interested in or collecting Isle of Wight pottery, and a useful addition to the UK's ceramic history records for Regional pottery.
As the authors suggest there is a trend for more potters to move to the Island from the mainland, and this book may encourage a few more!
TITLE: A Century of Ceramics, A Selection of 20th Century Potters and Potteries in the Isle of Wight
AUTHORS: Lisa and Andrew Dowden and Robin Goodredge
PUBLISHERS: The Authors
ISBN: Hardback 0-9548745-0-1; Paperback 0-9548745-1-X
PRICE: HB £35 PB £28
Limited Edition in Hardback - 500 copies.
Pages: 256, with hundreds of colour illustrations.
Enquiries to: Lisa Dowden - 01983-867505