Peter Meanley

My extensive collection of historical ceramics numbering many hundreds of which are broken, has been a source of inspiration for me for many years.  Whilst in the past my work has mainly been of teapots or indeed things that can pour, the last few years has seen a change which at the time shocked me:  It was so unexpected.

The German salt glaze tradition featuring the face mask of Cardinal Bellarmine – with beard, instilled the thought of perhaps a few vessels of Peter Meanley – with beard, but the few vessels became more as the beard became more elaborate.  Also, the English tradition of using complimentary coloured sprigs which I would call ‘drabware’ opened up other possibilities to the surface.

Of equal surprise, but as an extension of the Bellarmines, I began to look at Toby jugs and translate my work through the Toby tradition: indeed I have even become and avid collector of Toby’s.  So far my work has been autobiographical although recently I have undertaken a Toby of a very good friend and former colleague in the University of Ulster.

Currently I am on my third series of Tobys and am going back to the late C18 and Staffordshire for reference. But I have a hankering to do a public figure and have such a person in mind.

My work is in salt glaze, is high fired, and at the age of 65 I am perhaps at the height of my capabilities.  I remain passionate about the ideas yet to be made.  Drawing is compulsive for me.  

1944, Huddersfield

1998 University of Ulster DPhil “The Nature of Salt Glaze”
1965-68 Royal College of Art MDes RCA (Ceramics) 
1962-65 York School of Art, NDD (Painting)
2006 General Arts Award – Arts Council Northern Ireland
2003 General Arts Award – Arts Council Northern Ireland
2000 Major Research Award, Arts & Humanities Research Board
1927 Grant for D.Phil research on salt glazed teapots, University of Ulster

Selected Exhibitions
2007 Making Changes, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington
2006 Gallery HA Gamle Prestegard, Norway
‘Salzbrand Keramik’ Galerie Handwerk, Koblenz, Germany
‘Peter Meanley’, Solo: Godfrey & Wait, Harrogate
‘For The Table’, Crafts Council Gallery, London
‘A Pinch Of Salt’, Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
2005-06 Irish Ceramics of the 21st Century ‘Not Just Pots’, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin
Irish Contemporary Ceramics 3, Contemporary Ceramics
Table Manners: International Contemporary Tableware, Crafts Council, London
2005 Focus: Peter Meanley, Contemporary Ceramics, London

Arts Coucil of Northern Ireland, Belfast
Auckland Museum, New Zealand
British Council
Friesland Museum, Holland Irish Foreign Office
Limerick Museum, Ireland
Museo Regionale Raccolta Internationale di Ceramica d’arte C, Italy
National Museum of Ceramics, Valencia, Spain
National Museum of Ireland
Norfolk Museum
Tegelen Museum, Holland
University of Ulster
Ulster Museum
Victoria & Albert Museum, London




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