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  • Provenance

    Writhlington School, Radstock, gifted from the artist, 1972
    Sotheby's, London, ‘Decorative Arts including Studio Pottery’, 29 October 1996, lot 287

  • Exhibited

    'Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery', Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 14 September-3 December 2017 and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 20 March-18 June 2018

  • Literature

    'School gets pots of cash from kid deal', The Daily Telegraph, 19 April 1996, illustrated front page
    Donald Macgillivray, 'Pots of money on offer', The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2000, illustrated n.p.
    Tony Birks, Hans Coper, Catrine, 2013, illustrated p. 169, p. 170 for an image of Hans Coper with Jennea the Goat
    Glenn Adamson, Martina Droth and Simon Olding, eds., Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, exh. cat., Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 2017, illustrated p. 294

  • Artist Biography

    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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Monumental 'Writhlington School' pot

Stoneware, layered porcelain slips and engobes over a textured body, the neck, disc top lip and interior with a manganese glaze.
77 cm (30 3/8 in.) high
Impressed artist's seal and inscribed 1X1972 HC To Writhlington School. Thank you for Jennea the Goat.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £554,400

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Antonia King
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Ben Williams
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The Art of Fire: Selections from the Dr John P. Driscoll Collection

London Auction in association with Maak