The Winchcombe Pottery was set up by Michael Cardew (1901 - 83) at Greet in the Cotswolds in 1926 on the site of a country pottery which had closed down in 1915. Cardew studied classics at Oxford and was the first of Bernard Leach's many apprentices. Cardew was keen to revive the country pottery tradition which had gone into decline in the early part of this century, largely because they were not able to compete with the mass produced items which were now widely available and very cheap. At first Cardew experienced technical difficulties in the production of his lead glazed slipwares. Leach commented: 'These pots have breadth and are the most vigorous contemporary expression of the English countryside'.
In 1936 Ray Finch became Cardew's apprentice. Finch was born in London in 1914 and studied at the Central School of art and Design from 1935 - 6. Like Cardew he believed in the production of good quality functional wares. In 1933 he became manager of the pottery, and in 1946 he purchased the pottery from Cardew. Finch continues to work at Winchcombe with five assistants including his son, Michael.
The Winchombe Pottery produces reduced wood fired stoneware glazed and unglazed, or glazed inside with white, semi matt or black and rust glazes. Winchcombe Pottery is impressed with the mark WP which has altered at various times. The mark ST for instance signifies the piece was made by Sidney Tustin, an assistant for many years.
The collection of Winchcombe stoneware was made over a number of years. Richard Dunning arranged visits to the pottery for his students to see a wood fired kiln and potters at work. He purchased some of the items in the Collection on such outings.