Richard Batterham, who turned 80 this year, became fascinated by pottery as a schoolboy and, following a 2 year apprenticeship at the Leach Pottery, set up his own studio in Dorset in 1959. There he has continued to make pots that “enrich rather than adorn life” to this day.
Certainly Richard’s time at Bryanston School where his interest was encouraged by inspiring teacher, Donald Potter, followed by his time working with Bernard Leach, have had a great influence on his work ethic and the type of pots that have become his life. These are never over elaborate, have a consistency of form and a serene sculptural quality that never fails to please or surprise however long you have lived with them. Indeed one of the favourite pots in my own collection is a tall beaten bottle of Richard’s that I will never part with.
Richard has always worked alone and still fires his oil and wood-fired kiln 4 or 5 times a year and, on occasions, his smaller salt-glaze kiln that he built with the help of French potter, Thiébaut Chagué, almost 40 years ago. He believes in “maintaining a broad rhythm and allowing the pots to grow from both that rhythm and from an awareness of the nature of the materials used.”
For me Richard Batterham will always be one of the finest potters that this country has ever produced and, as a small celebration of his birthday, I will be including a selection of his work in the exhibition I will be showing from 3rd November 2016.