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Large vessel: C.2-2019

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© The estate of Mo Abbaro. Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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Object information


Large vessel


Abbaro, Mo (Ceramicist)


Porcelain and ‘T material’, hand-built, painted with coloured slips, biscuit fired to 1200 degrees, sprayed, oxidised at 1280 degrees.

Large, slightly angular, bulbous jar with narrow base and slim neck, flaring to a wide rim. Exterior covered with wide, gestural, overlapping brush-strokes of coloured slip. Earth colours: pink-brown, brown-black, pale green, dull turquoise. Neck and rim brown-black, with drips of ochre applied to inner neck. Surface has a dull shine. Underside flat and unpainted.


History note: Mo Abbaro's studio

Legal notes

Given by Rose Abdalla, wife of Mo Abbaro, 2019

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36 cm
Height: 39 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2019-01-28) by Abdalla, Rose


Early 21st Century
Production date: marked AD 1988


During the early 1960s, Mo Abbaro painted, sculpted and designed textiles in addition to working with ceramics. Between 1966 and 1990, he taught ceramics at the Camden Art Centre. His own work ranged from coloured jugs and bowls to large mushroom-shaped forms and sculptures depicting African animals. He experimented with surfaces, forms and colours and pioneered glazing and firing techniques to achieve unusual textures, including tactile surfaces replicating volcanic earth or snakeskin. He exhibited widely in England, Sweden and America, including at the 1968 British Potters ’68 showcase at Qantas Gallery alongside Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie. He also self-published several books on ceramic techniques and his family history.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla [‘Mo’] Abbaro (1935-2016) was born in Sudan to a family of farmers and Koranic teachers. Abbaro studied Fine and Applied Arts at the Khartoum Technical Institute, working as a carpenter to pay for his studies. In 1959, he won a scholarship to study ceramics at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and in 1964, married fellow artist Rose Glennie, granddaughter of Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Components of the work


Materials used in production

porcelain and T material Ceramic

Techniques used in production

Hand-building : Porcelain and ‘T material’, hand-built, painted with coloured slips, biscuit fired to 1200 degrees, sprayed, oxidised at 1280 degrees.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: in large uneven letters around the base, with '88' in the centre

  • Text: M A ABDALLA / 88
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2-2019
Primary reference Number: 226468
Entry form number: 1375
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 19 February 2019 Updated: Tuesday 9 November 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 22 December 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Large vessel" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-07-02 21:54:23

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