Harlequin Gallery





Bernard Leach

Examples of Bernard's work that are currently available

Tapered stoneware vase, spot and line decoration c.1965 with personal and Leach Pottery seals.
25.9 cm (10.2 inches)
Price: 1200


Flared stoneware vase with personal and
Leach Pottery seals.
13.7 cm (5.4 inches)
Diameter at the top:
10.2 cm (4.0 inches)
Price: 825


Bernard Leach (1887-1979) was one of the founding fathers of the Studio Pottery movement, who originally started the Leach Pottery in St. Ives, Cornwall, along with his friend and fellow potter Hamada Shoji, back in 1920.

Bernard was born in Hong Kong and lived in Japan and Singapore before being sent to school in Windsor by his English parents when he was ten years old. Upon leaving school he entered the Slade School of Art, studying drawing under Henry Tonks, followed by a spell studying etching under Frank Brangwyn at the London School of Art. Leach returned to the Far East in 1909 with the intention of introducing etching but by chance he decorated his first raku pot at a party in Japan and realised that this was going to be his true calling. This lead to Leach studying under the potter Ogata Kenzan VI with fellow pupil Kenkichi Tomimoto before building his own pottery at Abiko, Japan in 1917. It was in Abiko that Leach and Hamada met for the first time and began what was to be a lifelong friendship.

St. Ives was certainly not the place you would choose to start a pottery due to its lack of the basic raw materials. However the founder of the St. Ives Handicraft Guild, Mrs Frances Horne, wished to include a potter and it was her donation of 2500 that was the key. Despite many hardships along the way the pottery survived throughout the 20th century and was responsible for training some of the finest studio potters that the world has known.