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Nobody's Business: C.8-2006

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Object information

Current Location: Courtyard


Nobody's Business


Potter: Eastman, Ken




Slab-built stoneware vessel with a flat base, and walls constructed of seven pieces of different sizes some curved and some angular, joined together, and coloured blue and grey. Two of the exterior pieces are blue and five grey, and three of the interior are coloured blue and four grey.


History note: Purchased by the donors from Barrett Marsden Gallery at the Collect exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, held 9-13 February 2006

Legal notes

Gift of Nicholas and Judith Goodison through the National Art Collections Fund

Measurements and weight

Height: 32.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2006-03-06) by Goodison, Nicholas and Judith


21st Century, Early
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 2006 : dated


Text from object entry in A. Game (2016) ‘Contemporary British Crafts: The Goodison Gift to the Fitzwilliam Museum’. London: Philip Wilson Publishers: Ken Eastman studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. He established his studio in Shropshire in 1980 and began to develop a series of abstract, slab-built clay vessels inspired, in part, by an interest in the experimental clay work by mid-twentieth-century American artists such as Peter Voulkos (1924–2002) and Viola Frey (1933–2004). Eastman’s work is built, as with abstract painters of a similar period, through intense engagement with material and process as a way of focusing thought. The slabs of clay, once rolled flat, are pressmoulded against different objects to create shape and texture before being carefully assembled into vessels which are then given multiple firings to create the requisite depth of colour. Improvising and developing form with clay in this way tests the boundaries of the possible (at any moment the changing state of the clay can destroy the work) but it is from this intense material engagement that the resonant sculptural pieces appear. Eastman’s poetic mastery of form has gained him international acclaim, winning an Arts Foundation award in 1998 and the gold medal at the World Ceramic Biennial in Korea in 2001. In 2009, he developed a limitededition range of designs with Royal Crown Derby, winning an Art into Industry award in the same year. ‘You can feel in Eastman’s pots his many ways of handling time: the painstaking preparatory stages; the quick reactive manoeuvres of assembly; the steady accumulation of colour; the effects of depth achieved through multiple firings.’ -Glenn Adamson, Director, Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Ken Eastman: ‘I wanted to get a rambling, patched-together difficulty into the work – as if no-one would ever intend something to be that way, but when you saw it, it was somehow right. I think I was originally painting the form in order to clarify it but I want the fields of colour to move through and across the vessel space, so colour becomes a fundamental content of the work rather than a superficial aspect of it.’

School or Style

Contemporary Craft

Components of the work

Decoration composed of paint ( blue and grey)
Bottom Length 47.5 cm
Top Length 52 cm
Base At Widest Width 31 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Slab-building : Slab-built stonewarevessel with a flat base, and walls constructed of seven pieces of different sizes some curved and some angular, joined together, and coloured blue and grey with slip and oxides

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Eastman 2006
  • Location: On one end of the base
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Signature and date

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.8-2006
Primary reference Number: 126938
Entry form number: 810
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Nobody's Business" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-29 03:02:49

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