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Dark Jar: C.15-2017

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Object information

Current Location: G30 temporary display case (right)


Dark Jar


Maker: Britton, Alison




Earthenware, slab-built and painted

Large slab built vessel, rising from an elliptical base into a churn-like form with a flared neck, two small loop handles on either side and a deep pleat folded into one face. The outside of the body is partially coated with smooth buff slip, with brown slip painted over the neck and reaching to the base in three arch-like shapes. The interior is roughly painted in black-brown and grey. Bold gestural marks in black-brown and buff green are painted over the exterior and the inside of the neck. The underside is flat and unglazed.


History note: Purchased from Alison Britton, OBE, Marsden Woo Gallery, 229 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 8UT.

Legal notes

Purchased with the Dr John Shakeshaft Fund

Measurements and weight

Depth: 29.5 cm
Height: 57.5 cm
Width: 38 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (2017-07-17) by Marsden Woo Gallery


21st Century, Early
Elizabeth I
Production date: marked AD 2015


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 'Alison Britton: Content and Form', a solo retrospective of Britton's work at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was a major piece within the group of new works made for the show. and is an excellent example of her recent work.

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

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

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: handwitten signature

  • Text: Alison Britton / 2015
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.15-2017
Primary reference Number: 221635
Entry Form Number: 1332
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 25 July 2017 Updated: Friday 2 December 2022 Last processed: Friday 29 September 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 (2023) "Dark Jar" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-02 00:22:42

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