Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  • Provenance

    Private Collection, London

  • Exhibited

    'Colourfield', Contemporary Applied Arts, London, September 2003

  • Catalogue Essay

    A single, stationary pot is fixed in space. So too a line of pots, but the implication of a line is motion: the eye travels vessel to vessel, step by step, suggesting earlier strides and further travel.
    Since the late 1990s, ceramist Edmund de Waal has been producing congregations of white or celadon-glazed porcelain pots rather than single, autonomous vessels. De Waal’s installations range down corridors, over chimney pieces, and across corbels, as in a recent large commission for the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth. His pots gather, out-of-reach, above lintels or fill closed cupboards, bookshelves, and shallow channels cut in floors. At times they dominate, as in 'Porcelain Room', 650 thrown vessels first shown at the Geffrye Museum in 2001. At other times they complement the interstices—hallways, entries—quiet intervals devoted to passage, as are his pots. De Waal says: "So much of my energy over the last ten years has been focused on trying to press and push at the idea of where ceramic things can actually belong." The answer, it seems, is anywhere—or at least, almost everywhere.
    De Waal’s interest in motion and repetition is a dramatic break from the tradition of studio pottery and its celebration of the uncommon object. His use of multiples is a direct challenge to the singularity and preciousness of the ‘art pot’. To fix the eye on one object is merely to wade in the shallows of perception. He continues: "For me there is a huge and very basic beauty in the multiple. I love that kind of deep immersive investment in something…it’s about looking at one and then looking at another and looking at another." Even his language supports a preoccupation with the rhythm of repetition.
    Cargo is defined as the lading or freight of a ship. De Waal refers to his installations as ‘cargoes’, an apt metaphor. His accumulations load space—and cargo travels. 'Mendel’s Shelf', first exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2004, and now at Phillips de Pury, comprises 36 thrown porcelain bowls of variable dimensions arranged directly on the floor as if discovered like a shipwrecked payload "at the bottom of the sea", to borrow an observation from architect David Hill. De Waal has torn holes inside each, leading from false bases to further depths or pools of colour—vessels within vessels. The metaphor eddies out of sight.
    Similar examples of de Waal's are held in the collections of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA, mima (Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art), UK, Stoke on Trent Museum, UK, Birmingham Museum, UK, Icheon World Ceramic Centre, South Korea, Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House, Cumbria, UK.


Three tall lidded vessels

Porcelain, celadon glaze over impressed designs in the body (3).
Largest: 100 cm. (39 3/8 in.) high

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £9,375


25 Sept 2008, 2pm