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Ash glazed vase: C.735-2016

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Ash glazed vase


Potter: Pleydell-Bouverie, Katharine




Stoneware vase with ash glaze.

Squat urn-shaped stoneware vase with slightly off-set everted rim and wide mouth, covered in a thick glaze of blue-grey streaked with white/grey. On the outside the throwing ridges are visible through the glaze, which finishes 2cm above the base to expose the red-brown biscuit-fired clay. On one side the glaze drops into two thick drips. The inside is more thinly glazed. The underside is unglazed, with a turned foot-rim


History note: From the collection of Olive and Peter Ward (Emmanuel and Clare Colleges).

Legal notes

Given by the estate of the late Olive and Peter Ward

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 20 cm
Height: 16.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Coleshill ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2016-04-25) by Ward, Olive and Peter, from the estate of


20th Century, Mid
Circa 1925 CE - 1985 CE


Coming from a wealthy family, Pleydell-Bouverie was able to focus on experimentation and perfecting her glazes. Her expertise became such that Leach sought her advice and the documentation she left continues to be a source of study for contemporary potters.

Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie (1895-1985) learned her pottery skills at the Central School of Art under Dora Billington and as one of Bernard Leach’s early students. In 1925 she set up the Cole Pottery on her family’s estate at Coleshill, Berkshire, where she had grown up with the family Chinese porcelain collection, and built a double-chamber wood-fired reducing kiln kiln with the help of her friend Ada 'Peter' Mason. She favoured functional shapes: ‘I like a pot to be a pot, a vessel with a hole in it, made for a purpose’. In 1928, when Mason left for the USA, Norah Braden joined her and together they explored ash glazes made from local wood and vegetable sources. Pleydell-Bouverie wrote to Leach : ‘I want my pots to make people think, not of the Chinese, but of things like pebbles and shells and birds’ eggs and the stones over which moss grows’ (29.06.1930).

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of ash glaze ( blue)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Thrown stoneware with ash glaze

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.735-2016
Primary reference Number: 208649
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 26 April 2016 Updated: Friday 14 January 2022 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Ash glazed vase" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-23 22:44:17

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{{cite web|url= |title=Ash glazed vase |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-23 22:44:17|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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