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Billington, Dora

Born 1890, Stoke-on-Trent.  Died 1968

Dora Billington was born in the heart of the British pottery industry to a family of potters and studied at Hanley School of Art before taking a Diploma in ceramics at the Royal College of Art (1915-1916).  She joined the teaching staff at the RCA, later becoming Head of Department whilst continuing to design for the pottery trade.  In 1924 she moved to the Central School of Arts and Crafts creating a department of ceramics of which she became Head until her retirement in 1955.

She was regarded as an exceptional teacher, encouraging experimental approaches in the use of clay, glazes and decoration against the background of a European arts tradition.  This was in contrast to the dominant Bernard Leach-inspired Anglo-oriental aesthetic (he once referred slightingly to three of her followers as the 'Picassoettes').  It is only relatively recently that her importance in the history of British studio pottery has been fully recognised; through her writing as well as her teaching in prestigious institutions, her influence can be seen as significant. 

Her publications include:

The Art of the Potter Oxford, OUP 1937

The Teaching of Pottery London, Batsford 1962

Pottery for Everyone New York, Watson-Gumptill 1974

Shallow bowl
Lidded Pot