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Small Brown Bowl: C.14-2017

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Small Brown Bowl


Maker: Britton, Alison




Earthenware, slab-built, painted with slips and glazed.

Large, squat, slab-built vessel, rising from a flat round-pear-shaped base to a wider, more elongated opening at the top. The sides are formed from a single folded piece of clay joined at a sharp angle. The surface is textured and coated with slips, buff on the inside and buff and brown on the outside, then decorated with gestural marks in brown, red-brown and brown-black slip, sometimes enhanced by blue-black glaze. The sides are matt glazed; the rim is clear and blue-black glazed. The underside is flat and decorated, but unglazed.


History note: Made for an exhibition at Parnham House, Dorset, 1988. Purchased from the artist by Ed Wolf, 1988.

Legal notes

Given by Ed Wolf

Measurements and weight

Depth: 26 cm
Height: 26 cm
Width: 19 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2017-07-17) by Wolf, Ed


20th Century, Late#
Elizabeth II
Production date: marked AD 1988


Alison Britton (b.1948) is a leading British potter with an international reputation. She trained at the Central School of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art, where one of her tutors was Hans Coper. She has taught at the RCA for many years and is also well known as a curator, writer and lecturer. In the early 1970s, Britton played a significant part in the shift away from thrown, functional , studio ceramics towards more colourful, expressive, hand-built wares. In 1990 she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to the applied arts.

Britton’s abstract, gestural mark making and painterly application of slips blurs the line between art and craft. In her own words: ‘ the improvised relationship between the painted surface and the irregular form is what continues to engage me”. This piece was made for an exhibition at Parnham House, Dorset, in 1988. and also shown at Nationalmuseum Sweden in 1989.

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Slab-building : Buff earthenware, slab-built, decorated with buff, brown and black slips and matt, clear and blue-black glazes.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: handwritten signature

  • Text: Alison Britton / 88
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Incised through brown slip
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: AB / 5
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Small circular paper label handwritten in black
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.14-2017
Primary reference Number: 221634
Entry Form Number: 1331
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 25 July 2017 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

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) "Small Brown Bowl" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-14 23:43:12

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{{cite web|url= |title=Small Brown Bowl |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-14 23:43:12|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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