Ceramics from the Trevor Coldrey Collection

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Trevor Coldrey and Bill Ismay
Trevor Coldrey (left) and the collector, Bill Ismay, at the Harlequin Gallery

Trevor Coldrey has collected studio ceramics for over 40 years but it has become necessary to downsize recently. This is due to moving from the original Harlequin Gallery site to a flat a short distance away. The move took place in September and this exhibition offers the opportunity to purchase some of the work that made up Trevor’s collection.

Collecting

Trevor Coldrey had bought a few studio pots in the 1950s while undertaking his first lecturing post in Plymouth. However, it wasn’t until he became a book dealer in the early 1980s that his interest was rekindled. Based in Guildford, Trevor came upon the work of the potters, Henry Hammond and Poh Chap Yeap, who lived locally. He began collecting their work and others that he liked in order to support the artists. “Supporting the cause”, as he called it.

Henry Hammond brush decorated bowls
Henry Hammond brush decorated bowls

Poh Chap Yeap

In 1986 Yeap told Trevor that he was giving up pottery completely and asked if he would like to buy the contents of his studio. Trevor agreed but when considering the number of pots involved decided to contact the dealer, Paul Rice, who accompanied Trevor and bought some of the pots too. However, it did leave Trevor Coldrey with a significantly large collection already and was a source of Yeap’s work for me from the time that I took over the Harlequin Gallery in 1999.

Poh Chap Yeap
Poh Chap Yeap

Greenwich & the Harlequin Gallery

Trevor Coldrey moved to Greenwich in 1986. There he opened Harlequin Books in the retail part of the property in Greenwich High Road that he bought and lived above. While running the bookshop, Trevor continued to follow his developing passion for pots. He visited exhibitions and galleries in London and Primavera, during his frequent visits to Cambridge. Around five years later, he closed the bookshop and re-opened it as the Harlequin Gallery. Having spoken to Trevor about the decision, it’s clear that it was done to support the artists, whose work he admired. It wasn’t really to make money, as any profit from sales was spent on buying more pots for himself from the exhibition. Mike Dodd was the first potter exhibited and regular exhibitions were held until the end of 1997. The gallery then closed for a year until I took over in early 1999. From then on Trevor Coldrey was my landlord and occasional customer.

After the Harlequin Gallery

Trevor didn’t stop buying pots, books or paintings in 1999 but continued to do so up until fairly recently. Unlike some collectors he was never precious about keeping his collection intact. This meant that during my time running the gallery, items have become available for me to buy and resell. Trevor realised that a move from Greenwich High Road would be necessary a few years ago and downsizing began. I have helped him with this and, although there might still be a few items that need to find new homes, Trevor and his reduced collection moved to a ground floor flat “around the corner” in September 2021.

Harlequin Gallery September 2021
Harlequin Gallery building on 10 September 2021. The day that Trevor Coldrey moved out.

The Exhibition

The exhibition begins on 18th October 2021 and all the work shown here will be included at some point during the exhibition. On 18th October 10 items will be added to the Recent Acquisitions page of the website at 11 am when items will be sold on a first come, first served basis. This will be repeated on Monday 25th October and Monday 1st November. Besides these 30 items, other ceramics will be available at the gallery, which will be open by appointment here in London SE18.

Books

Besides the ceramics that will appear in the exhibition, most of the books and catalogues added to the website over recent months originate from Trevor Coldrey’s library, which has also been downsized significantly. These can be viewed here at: Books

  • Ruthanne Tudball items from the 1990s
  • Sara Radstone wall sculpture
  • Michael OBrien 12 inch footed dish
  • Mark Griffiths salt-glazed bottle

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