WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW?

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Post by philpot January 6th 2022, 12:42 pm

WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0654WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0655WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0657WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0658WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0659WITHER THE LEACH TRADITION NOW? Img_0660

They were saying the Leach tradition was dying over 25 years ago when I first started collecting. But It is still here, and many take pride in their collections. Indeed, even though I downsized on the Leach tradition, I still seem to have some Odds and Ends.
                 But Richard Batterham has gone,as has Phil Rogers. Mike Dodd and Jim Malone are into their mid/late 70's. That third generation that has sustained Goldmark Gallery is nw passing. So where does it go? Who will stand the test of time in still be in around in 25 years.
            Interesting though, that itis only Richard Batterham that has a major show at a National Museum.
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Post by NaomiM January 6th 2022, 12:49 pm

Alive and well at St Ives, Maze Hill and Kigbeare, imo. Charlie Collier is the one to watch, but closely followed by Matthew Foster and Matt Tyas. Plus Britta James, Brigitte Colleaux, Callum Trudgeon, etc. And Roelof Uys is excellent.

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Post by philpot January 6th 2022, 1:07 pm

Is there still mileage in it then Naomi? Are the serious collectors to collect a new generation? Just how many twists can you put on it?
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Post by NaomiM January 6th 2022, 2:00 pm

Yes, I believe so. The standard is very high, and there is the added kudos of being trained by Svend Bayer, Lisa Hammond, etc, and apprenticed at St Ives, Clay College Stoke, or Kigbeare.

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Post by studio-pots January 6th 2022, 2:07 pm

There was a gap in collecting in general in the generation after mine and yours. However, in recent years people in their twenties and thirties of both sexes have become interested in functional pottery in what you could describe, as the Anglo-Oriental tradition.

Around 10 years ago I noticed a younger affluent customer asking for and buying Richard Batterham's work from me. The logic is that these people would buy work by younger potters that work in this style.

Hauser & Wirth, the Swiss contemporary art gallery "with outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz, and Menorca" shows contemporary ceramics, including work by people such as Nancy Fuller, who I was the first to show at the Harlequin, that work in this tradition. They sell work of hers for £3500+

Last autumn a couple in their late twenties phoned to ask to come and look at some pots and all that they were interested in and bought were pots in the Anglo-Oriental tradition.

Therefore the buyers are there if the potters come through.

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Post by NaomiM January 6th 2022, 2:24 pm

The Mackenzie-led Mingei tradition is very strong in the US. Makenzie-trained Minnesota potters have the same collectability as those potting in the Leach tradition and there is crossover between the two camps which may explain Batterham's popularity over there.

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Post by NaomiM January 6th 2022, 2:29 pm

I think the question is whether Mike Dodd, Peter Swanson, and a handful of other older mid-tier Leach-style potters will rise to fill Batterham, Rogers and Malone's shoes. Or whether they'll go the same way as a lot of now half forgotten 70s-80s Leach trained potters, and the crown will pass to the younger generation of potters who are more media and internet savvy. I've always thought Mick Morgan was an excellent potter but very undervalued

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Post by croker January 6th 2022, 3:23 pm

I think in most cases only the innovators in any medium will be collected in the future , in studio pottery it will probably be the likes of Leach, Coper , Rie Odundo and maybe few others, whereas those that still persist in knocking out pieces in the Leach tradition will soon be forgotten as will many of those from the art schools who attempted to be different but didn't quite get it right , Batterham just seems to have that little something that the others lack so i feel he will still have a following, I think many of the leach type pots that are being produced now are fairy cheaply priced and after a few years will probably end up in boot fairs , i don't think many are being sold to serious studio pottery collectors. After our exchanges re Henderson topic i decided to look in the FB and found a post with Jim Malone whinging about his pots not fetching much in auction, maybe there is a reason for this Mr Malone Happy .I don't think many of us will be bothered about pots in 25 years time.
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Post by studio-pots January 7th 2022, 5:56 pm

I remember watching a live stream of an Adam Partridge sale where there was reference to emails from Phil Rogers moaning in a similar manner as Jim. However, if you are inferring that they not not any good, croker, I would argue that wasn't the case.

When I took over the Harlequin Gallery in 1999 there were 3 potters in the "Leach" tradition that I and other galleries in the south of England showed every two years and you could rely on them bringing in the collectors. They were Jim Malone, Mike Dodd & Phil Rogers. There was a kind of unofficial rota between the Harlequin, Alpha House in Sherborne and the Bettles Gallery in Ringwood that we all followed.

Over the years the collectors continued to come but we all noticed that our customers bought fewer pots.

Fortunately for these three potters and others, Goldmark decided to exhibit pots as well as paintings when this was happening and so they found masses of new customers through the advertising and salesmanship of Mark Goldmark.

From my experience virtually all of these collectors preferred to buy work from the next exhibition rather than buy from auction. I think there is some logic to that as the vast majority of the things in auction were things that other collectors had tired of and were getting rid of.

I have sold second hand pots by all three of these potters in the last 6 months and most are pots that were exhibited and originally sold at solo exhibitions rather than run of the mill items bought from the potters at fairs and their potteries. I have sold but only if I offer at probably about 40% or less of what a similar new pot would cost, which I have been able to do. The people that are buying are older general collectors that like me are unlikely to be around in 25 years time or young people that are usually potters themselves and they are never going to have the money to spend serious money on pots.

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Post by NaomiM January 7th 2022, 6:15 pm

I don't mind a bargain at auction, but prefer to buy direct from the potter as you can get the best from the kiln, but not necessarily new pots. I've bought a few from Charlie Collier that he'd kept back because he liked them too much. And I've noticed some galleries end up with unsold pots from Art In Clay, which aren't necessarily the potter's best work.

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Post by croker January 7th 2022, 6:36 pm

Hi studio , I wasn't saying they were not any good but that buyers just didn't want them for a higher price ,what he didn't seem to understand that the prices in the secondary market were rarely going to match the high gallery prices. What i meant in my post was ( well a crystal ball would be handy) that i feel all the 'minor' leach followers will fade without a trace but other such as Malone , rogers etc, will also fade in popularity gradually over a longer period perhaps 20 years or so ,if indeed studio pottery is still strong in the market in 25 years.
'
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Post by studio-pots January 7th 2022, 6:46 pm

NaomiM wrote:I don't mind a bargain at auction, but prefer to buy direct from the potter as you can get the best from the kiln, but not necessarily new pots. I've bought a few from Charlie Collier that he'd kept back because he liked them too much. And I've noticed some galleries end up with unsold pots from Art In Clay, which aren't necessarily the potter's best work.

In my day the best pots from firings were always kept back for solo exhibitions and any that didn't sell would be kept for their next solo exhibition. These would never appear at a Fair or at the pottery until they had been to two or three solo exhibitions.

I think it could be that when Goldmark started to have vast amounts of pots in his exhibitions, started selling before the exhibition officially begins and then requires the potters to provide replacements that this might have fallen by the wayside.

It's like you buying things from Charlie Collier in effect, as he was keeping them for a special occasion/buyer.

In my day the exhibitions pots that hadn't sold went back to be stored by the potter or, as I was in London, some went to the CPA as general stock.

I did have one exhibition where all the unsold work went to Galerie Besson but that was the exception. Laughter


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Post by studio-pots January 7th 2022, 6:59 pm

croker wrote:Hi studio , I wasn't saying they were not any good but that buyers just didn't want them for a higher price ,what he didn't seem to understand that the prices in the secondary market were rarely going to match the high gallery prices. What i meant in my post  was ( well a crystal ball would be handy) that i feel all the 'minor' leach followers will fade without a trace but other such as Malone , rogers etc, will  also fade in popularity gradually over  a longer period perhaps 20 years or so ,if indeed studio pottery is still strong in the market in 25 years.
'

My thoughts are that interest in the second tier "Leach" followers, namely Malone, Rogers, & Dodd will fall but will continue to some extent, although it very much depends on what happens in the studio pottery world in the future. Others of their generation will be forgot, as they more of less have been today. Maybe the fate of these three depends on what happens with the younger generation that Naomi mentions.

However, I think that Bill Marshall and Richard Batterham - the cream of the tradition, will live on until the end of civilisation.

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Post by denbydump January 7th 2022, 7:05 pm

The old conundrum, are you buying a "name" or something that is aesthetically
pleasing to the eye?
Just having seen the lovely Ambleside pieces just posted, I know what I'd go for.

Cook is in the V & A collection.
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Post by croker January 7th 2022, 7:07 pm

If studio pottery is still collected strongly in 25 years then yes collectors will want the best examples of their kind and as you say Batterham and Marshall fit the bill but in the 'art' type wares certain potters are already fading and i think this will continue.
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Post by studio-pots January 7th 2022, 7:15 pm

I have just been reading the book about Bill Ismay and he disliked it when people began to collect pots for investment. I have always thought the same.

Regarding "art" type pottery that is always made to fade like most art itself.

Work with no lasting substance should always be consigned to the skip.

That's the same with any art. Only the best survives.

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Post by croker January 7th 2022, 7:49 pm

I agree pots should not be bought just for investment and i don't think that is always the buyers first thought ( maybe their second) but when a person spends many thousands of pounds on a piece they like to think they have bought well . There are far sounder investments than pots .When i was referring to art pots i was thinking of those with a more novelty aspect rather than those that give a real artistic contribution to the medium. I havn't read the book on Ismay yet but will do soon .
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Post by NaomiM January 7th 2022, 10:05 pm

Difficult to buy for investment unless you’ve got 30yrs to wait before cashing in. The next generation in the family will be the winners, if they keep the pots in my collection for long enough, which I doubt; they simply won’t have the space, or know what to hang on to.

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Post by philpot January 8th 2022, 8:55 am

I think Goldmark did the Leach tradition a huge service. Over 20 years ago I remember reading talk of the withering on the vine of the Leach school. Then Goldmark came along with their superb marketing skills and gave a large boost to the market. But it is always the same names  of Phil Rogers, Mike Dodd and Jim Maolne. You do not see any other 3rd generation Leach style potters with their prominence. Their careers are now either at an end or soon will be owing to advancing age. There are now no younger British potters in the Leach tradition being promoted by Goldmark.
          I downsized on moving. I mostly sold the Phil Rogers, Michael Casson, Jim Malone and Mike Dodd pieces I had. Yet I kept the Janet Leach, Bill Marshall and Richard Batterham. Because I saw more of interest in those potters than the others. Purely a personal choice. Equally, ours is not a Leach dominated collection. Never had a Bernard, and only the occasiomal David.
             As to pots for investment. Well truth to tell a lot of it is entirely  haphazard and Luck, and also the interest of a wider collecting public. The Rie and Coper pupils for instance. Ten years or maybe a little more ago, you could have bought a decent John Ward or Emmanuel Cooper for £400-£500. Those pieces have gone up by 5 to 10 times that according to how good they are.
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Post by NaomiM January 8th 2022, 12:46 pm

philpot wrote:As to pots for investment. Well truth to tell a lot of it is entirely  haphazard and Luck, and also the interest of a wider collecting public.

Agreed. I have no Batterhams; one Jim Malone; one Mike Dodd; almost a dozen Phil Rogers; around a dozen Svend Bayers; a dozen Matthew Blakelys; over a dozen Lisa Hammonds; and around three dozen Geoffrey Swindells. I might double my "investment" after their deaths. If I was collecting purely for investment then I would have stocked up on Wallwork and Maltby when I had the chance, but the resale prices for the vast majority of ceramics are small beer compared to paintings and other artworks. If I had to pick one for investment then I'd say the Bramble family would be a good bet, if you're willing to hold on to their figurative work for 20-30 years. And Grayson Perry, if you can afford it.

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Post by croker January 8th 2022, 2:02 pm

Collecting for investment in any area is hazardous and as we discussed in another thread collectors tastes change very quickly. As an example In the 80's and 90's English delft was at a high and the markets were scoured by dealers such as Jonathan Horne for their rich clients ,this had a knock on effect with smaller dealers and collectors ,and English delft along with other early pottery became the flavour of the month and every piece was being snapped up, then came a crash as the rich collectors either died or decided to sell their collections for other reasons, many lost a lot of money and the market has never really recovered ,with mainly only the best pieces making any decent money now at auction and many late 18th century pieces now being sold in multiples. There are examples of the crashes in many other areas for all sorts of reasons sometimes fashion sometimes financial and studio ceramics are not exempt.
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Post by philpot January 8th 2022, 6:45 pm

A fascinating collection you have there Naomi. All collecting is pure idiosyncratic taste. Take Matthew Blakeley for instance. I just  love his Ice Blue work, and have several of those. But he changed direction radically and I just did not like that direction. The whole business of digging your own clay et etc Just does not interest me.
I have Wallwork and Maltby really purely for sentimental reasons. They were amongst the first I collected when living in Devon. Again, a purely idiosyncratic happening.
         As to investment.....Sheeesh  It merits a book or library of its own, let alone a thread, which it does of course! But studio pottery is chicken feed in the modern contemporary art market. Contemporary Art seems to almost used now as an entirely separate currency in itself. With fashionable artists being sold for sums that are incomprehensible to normal people. Will it go on forever? One doubts it!
         And what about 'Digital Art'? Non Fungible Tokens (NFT's) is apparently where the hot money is. Now that is totally beyond me!
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Post by NaomiM January 8th 2022, 10:57 pm

Svend Bayer is worth a punt; he’s already semi retired and there are a lot of collectors of Malone, Rogers, Batterham , etc, who collect his work too

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Post by studio-pots January 11th 2022, 11:22 pm

philpot wrote:I think Goldmark did the Leach tradition a huge service. Over 20 years ago I remember reading talk of the withering on the vine of the Leach school. Then Goldmark came along with their superb marketing skills and gave a large boost to the market. But it is always the same names  of Phil Rogers, Mike Dodd and Jim Maolne. You do not see any other 3rd generation Leach style potters with their prominence. Their careers are now either at an end or soon will be owing to advancing age. There are now no younger British potters in the Leach tradition being promoted by Goldmark.
          I downsized on moving. I mostly sold the Phil Rogers, Michael Casson, Jim Malone and Mike Dodd pieces I had. Yet I kept the Janet Leach, Bill Marshall and Richard Batterham. Because I saw more of interest in those potters than the others. Purely a personal choice. Equally, ours is not a Leach dominated collection. Never had a Bernard, and only the occasiomal David.
             As to pots for investment. Well truth to tell a lot of it is entirely  haphazard and Luck, and also the interest of a wider collecting public. The Rie and Coper pupils for instance. Ten years or maybe a little more ago, you could have bought a decent John Ward or Emmanuel Cooper for £400-£500. Those pieces have gone up by 5 to 10 times that according to how good they are.

Phil Rogers was the person that Mark Goldmark turned to for suggestions of who to invite to join the "stable". I know some that were invited who said no and some that joined and wanted to get out.

However, you are correct, as I have said, about what Goldmark did for the potters that he took on.

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Post by studio-pots January 11th 2022, 11:32 pm

NaomiM wrote:Svend Bayer is worth a punt; he’s already semi retired and there are a lot of collectors of Malone, Rogers, Batterham , etc, who collect his work too

As a dealer, I always buy ceramics for investment and mostly do OK. However, it's different to collecting for investment, as I generally try and take a profit as soon as I can.

At the moment I am getting rid of anything by Rogers, Malone & Bayer that I have and don't imagine buying anything else by them.

Batterham works I would be very keen to buy but it's unlikely that I am going to find them at the right price. If I was younger then I might be tempted to spend on Batterham pots but at my age there's no need.

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