Harlequin Gallery




Janet Leach

One of the foremost potters of the 20th century.  


The pots below are all currently available.

Globular stoneware vase unglazed on the exterior.
14.0 cm (5.5 inches)
Maximum diameter (excluding the lugs):
17.0 cm (6.7 inches)
Price: 350

Black stoneware tazza.
12.4 cm (4.9 inches)
Diameter: 20.3 cm (8.0 inches)
Price: 300

Black stoneware lidded pot.
9.1 cm (3.6 inches)
Price: 235

Stoneware ash glazed bottle vase.
21.6 cm (8.5 inches)


Janet Leach, who was Bernard Leach's third wife, was born in Texas, USA in 1918. One of the major potters of the last century, Janet was a potter in her own right before meeting Bernard, Shoji Hamada and Soetsu Yanagi during their lecture tour of the States in 1952. The meeting was instrumental in arousing her interest in the work of Japan and resulted in her studying there for two years under the guidance of Hamada.

During her time in Mashiko with Hamada she made very few pots, as she was too involved in seeing how they did things. Then after six months Hamada recommended that she chose one of the many pottery villages in Japan to go and work in, saying "Don't learn what I learned, go and learn from where I learned it." Janet chose Tamba but always returned to Mashiko for Hamada's glazing sessions and kiln firings.

After her period in Japan, Janet came to England and married Bernard Leach in 1956. In St. Ives she took over the management of the Leach Pottery and continued to work there after Bernard's death until she died in 1997.

Although working in reduction stoneware, her work was very different from anything that Bernard produced. In fact as David Leach stated before his father's death "Janet must be the one person who has worked closely with him for a number of years without being visibly influenced. She is so strong in herself that she has maintained more independence than anyone else who has been as close to that dangerous fire, my father!"