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Davis, Derek

Born: 1926, died 2008. Nationality: British.

Born in Wandsworth, Davis studied painting at the Central School of Art from 1945-9. In 1951 he established a community with ex-art school students at Hillesden, from one of these, John Clarke, he began to learn the craft of pottery, eventually deciding that this might provide a better source of income than painting. In 1955 with his wife Ruth he moved to Arundel in Sussex where he set up a workshop and gallery. He proceeded to explore Chinese ceramics, freely adapting traditional forms and adopting the classic, richly coloured glazes such as the deep red sang de boeuf and aubergine blue-purples. In doing this he departed from the then current Bernard Leach-inspired trend with its more traditional forms and subdued colouring.

Unusually for an artist known for ceramics rather than painting or sculpture, he was appointed artist-in-residence at Sussex University. He later taught at Chichester Art College and Worthing College of Art. He exhibited regularly at major national venues such as the British Craft Centre and the Craftsman Potters Shop and was featured in an important exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum 'Studio Pottery Today' in 1983. In the 1990s he switched from pottery to his first calling, painting and produced abstract and figurative works, the latter often imbued with a gentle sense of humour.

Bottle Pot