'Thistle' form

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  • Provenance

    Robert Welch, Chipping Campden
    The Berkeley Collection, London, 1975
    Mr Narita, Tokyo, 2007
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2008

  • Exhibited

    'Hans Coper', Robert Welch Studio Shop, Chipping Camden, 1975
    'Hans Coper', Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, 1984, no. 114
    'Lucie Rie & Hans Coper-Potters in Parallel', Barbican Art Gallery, London, February–May 1997

  • Literature

    Peter Collingwood|Hans Coper: Rugs and wall-hangings by Peter Collingwood, Pots by Hans Coper, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1969, p. 17 for a similar example
    Margot Coatts, ed., Lucie Rie & Hans Coper-Potters in Parallel, exh. cat., Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1997, illustrated p. 97, no. 12.6
    Cyril Frankel, Modern Pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie & their Contemporaries: The Lisa Sainsbury Collection, London, 2000, p. 41 for a similar example
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Yeovil, 2013, pp. 161, 202 for similar examples

  • Artist Bio

    Hans Coper

    German • 1920 - 1981

    Hans Coper learned his craft in the London studio of Lucie Rie, having emigrated from Germany as a young Jewish engineering student in 1939. He initially assisted Rie in the studio with the ceramic buttons she made for the fashion industry, as well as ceramic tableware, but soon Coper was producing his own work. By 1951 he had received considerable recognition exhibiting his pots in the "Festival of Britain." 


    Coper favored compound shapes that, while simple in appearance, were in fact complex in construction. Similar to the making of Joseon Dynasty Moon Jars (Rie in fact displayed a Moon Jar in the studio), he would build his vessels by bringing several thrown forms together, for example joining bowls rim to rim. Coper eschewed glazes and preferred the textured surfaces achieved through the application of white and black slips, evoking the abraded texture of excavated vessels. This interest in ancient objects was very much in step with other modernists of his time—Coper admired Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti and his textured markings have been compared to sculptors such as William Turnbull.


    In the last phase of his career, Coper reduced the scale of his work creating small "Cycladic" pots that stood on pedestals or drums, recalling the clay figures of Bronze Age Greece. 

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Property from a Private Collection, Tokyo

'Thistle' form

circa 1975
Stoneware, layered white porcelain slips and engobes over a body with textured and incised linear designs, the interior with manganese glaze.
32 cm (12 5/8 in.) high
Impressed with artist’s seal.

£40,000 - 60,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £131,250

Contact Specialist
Sofia Sayn-Wittgenstein
+44 207 901 7926


London Auction 20 September 2017