Today’s broadcast features a Zoom chat with slipware potter Doug Fitch, a deep dive into the archive of Mabel Royds (1872-1941) and a quick look at an enigmatic painting by Leonard Rosoman (1913-2012).
For over 20 years Doug Fitch lived and worked in the Devon countryside. He has now moved to Galloway in Scotland and lives and works with his potter wife, Hannah McAndrew. He works in red earthenware clay, the pots simply decorated, with appliqué decoration or sgrafitto, using a basic palette of traditional slips, made from natural raw materials.
Fitch draws influence from the work of the medieval potters of England and the subsequent tradition of slip decorated country pottery, that was prevalent in this country until the early twentieth century. The slipware platters on offer here are made using the moulds originally used by the great Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge Pottery.
Mabel Royds was born in Bedfordshire, 1872. When, aged only fifteen, she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy Schools in London she instead chose to study at the more progressive Slade School, unbeknownst to her parents. After spells in Paris and Toronto from 1900, she returned to Britain in 1911 to teach at the Edinburgh College of Art where her colleagues included the Scottish Colourist painters J.D.Fergusson and S.J.Peploe and the etcher E.S.Lumsden.
Royds married Lumsden in 1913, their honeymoon including travels to Bombay. They returned to India the following year and in 1916 the two of them journeyed through the Himalayas, painting as they went. Throughout the 1920s her prints, nearly always woodcuts, were often of Indian subjects based on images from her travels. Unable to afford pear woodblocks for her woodcuts, she made them instead from sixpenny breadboards from Woolworths. Royds died in Edinburgh, 1941.
Leonard Rosoman (1913-2012) was a British artist best known for his work during the Second World War and for his later murals. Upon completing part of his training at the Royal Academy schools in 1935-6, his big break as an artist came a year later with a commission to illustrate a children’s book by the scientist JBS Haldane.
With the advent of the war, Rosoman joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, producing paintings based on his experiences as a fire-fighter during the Blitz. Further commissions followed from the War Office to document naval activities in the Far East. His returned to Britain with major teaching positions and commissions, including the ceiling of the chapel at Lambeth Palace. He was elected RA in 1969 and OBE in 1981.
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