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Vessel: C.34-2017

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Ceramicist: Smith, Martin




‘T’ material, thrown, spray glazed over masking tape and raku fired.

Vertical cylindrical form rising from a gently curved convex base and decorated with white glazed bands set against a smokey-black ground, produced by the raku firing. A broad white band near the top and a thin white band near the bottom run half way round the vessel leading, on the other half, to a complex pattern of interwoven diagonal bands. On this half the glaze has crackled towards the top. The clay towards the top of the interior has been chamfered, finishing in a very thin rim with rough upper edge. The inside is mainly glazed white, with a black banding design near the top and black speckles concentrating near the bottom of the sides. The curve of the underside means that there is very little contact with the supporting surface, giving a sense that the vessel hovers above it.


History note: Purchased by donor from Atmosphere, Regents Park Road, London NW1, 9 September, 1978, price £100.

Legal notes

Given by Jacob Simon, 2017

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23.8 cm
Height: 28 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2017-11-20) by Simon, Jacob


Elizabeth II
Circa 1975 - 1978


Martin Smith (b.1950) trained at Bristol Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art (RCA). He has lectured in ceramics at Loughborough, Camberwell and Brighton Colleges of Art and was Professor and Head of Ceramics & Glass at the RCA from 1999-2015. His work is found in many public collections.

This bowl, numbered MSS16, is typical of Smith’s work in the mid-late 1970s, featuring precise attention to detail and control of the material to produce a straight-sided vessel with a sharply defined pattern, interrupted by carefully controlled glaze crazing. The interplay of black and white lines and blocks, continuing onto the inner rim, creates a dynamic sense of space, enhanced by the possibility of spinning the vessel on its rounded base. The rough edge at the top is, however, less typical; it formally separates the inner and outer surfaces and perhaps looks forward to Smith’s later pieces where a smooth outer surface is juxtaposed with an uneven interior. After 1978, Smith radically altered his technique, though continuing to explore architectural form, geometric shapes and the material qualities of ground and polished ceramic surfaces. Recent projects have extended to furniture and gallery design, notably for the Anthony Shaw ceramic collection at Yortk Art Gallery.

School or Style


Components of the work


Materials used in production

'T' material

Techniques used in production

Throwing : ‘T’ material, thrown, spray glazed over masking tape and raku fired.

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.34-2017
Primary reference Number: 222899
Entry form no.: 1339
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 28 November 2017 Updated: Friday 14 August 2020 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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