Harlequin Gallery


Ursula Mommens 

Below are examples of Ursula’s work that is currently available from the gallery :-

Stoneware vase with light glaze.
16.25 cm (6.2 inches)
Price: £120

Tall stoneware vase with tenmoku glaze.
27.9 cm (11. 0 inches)
Price: £285


Stoneware jar with apple ash glaze.
13.5 cm (5.4 inches)
Maximum diameter:
13.5 cm (5.4 inches)
Price: £85

Ursula Mommens, who began making pots when she was 14 years old in 1922, was a great granddaughter of Charles Darwin and a great great granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood.

A few years after she began potting Ursula started attending classes at the Central School of Art in London two days a week. It was while she was in London that she happened upon an exhibition of pottery and went into the gallery to have a look. While she was doing this, Charles Vyse, the potter came in and was fascinated to see a young girl looking at the work so carefully. He started up a conversation and suggested that she would do better to take the pots she had made and "show them to Mr. Murray at the Royal College of Art". This she did and William Staite Murray agreed to take her on, leading to "two wonderful years" at the Royal College.

Afterwards she started her first pottery in Kent, but from 1935 she worked in Chiswick, where she lived with her first husband, Julian Trevelyan, the painter. She remained there until her kiln was blitzed and then was given the opportunity to join Michael Cardew at Winchcombe and Wenford Bridge, following a chance meeting with Bernard Leach, who told her of the vacancy.

From the early 1950's she potted in Sussex, where she originally moved with her second husband, and continued to work at the pottery she shared with Chris Lewis, who joined her in the 1970s. She worked mainly in stoneware but started to use porcelain as well in the 1990s. The photograph above was taken by me in May 2000, as she prepared for her exhibition at the Harlequin Gallery during that summer.

Her last exhibition of new work at the Harlequin Gallery took place during July 2004. She celebrated her 100th Birthday during August 2008 and to commemorate this event a small retrospective of her work was included in the exhibition at the Harlequin during October 2008.

Ursula passed away peacefully on Saturday 30th January 2010. She was a remarkable person, who lived life to the full, as well as being a most wonderful potter. A celebration of her life was held at the beginning of July 2010 when many friends gathered for recollections, food, drink and entertainment, which I am sure Ursula would have enjoyed immensely.