News & Events

Social Lunch 2011


Post-Christmas Social Lunch, Talk and Pot-handling Session
Sunday 30th January, 11am – 4pm
Café du Parc and Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Kingsley Road, Bideford, EX34 2QQ

Although it is only two years since we last visited the Burton Art Gallery and Museum, the combination of excellent food at the Café du Parc and the opening of the new permanent gallery housing the R J Lloyd ceramics collection make it a natural choice for our 2011 event.

There have been articles about the collection in our newsletter (issue 104, May/June 2010) and in Ceramic Review (issue 245, September/October 2010), which have explained its importance far better than I can. To summarise however, Bideford resident and acclaimed artist R J Lloyd began almost by chance in 1948 to collect examples of North Devon slipware. He ended up with over 500 pieces, ranging from intricately decorated harvest jugs to everyday domestic ware, spanning over 300 years and including work by modern slipware potters such as Michael Cardew and Clive Bowen.

Geographical and geological advantages – excellent clay at Fremington, gravel from the Torridge estuary, wood and coal for firing the kilns – were the foundation of a thriving pottery industry. Finished goods could be readily transported by water, and apart from supplying domestic demand, enormous amounts of pots were exported to the colonies of Virginia and North Carolina. The returning ships brought tobacco, making the area very prosperous. The pottery industry continued to flourish in Bideford and Barnstaple until the early twentieth century.

Due to the rising cost of insurance, the collection was sold 6 years ago to a benefactor who enabled it to be kept together until funds could be raised for it to be purchased by the Friends of Burton Art Gallery. Only about a third of the collection is displayed at any one time in the dedicated gallery, but all pieces can be accessed on an interactive computer screen.

Warren Collum, Exhibitions & Collections Officer at the Burton, was very closely involved with the acquisition and subsequent display of the collection. He has kindly agreed to give us a short talk about this before lunch, starting promptly at 11am. After lunch, there will be a pot-handling session from 2.30pm – 4pm, facilitated by Julian Vayne, Learning Development Officer for the R J Lloyd collection. Pot-handling opportunities are always a treat, but this one will be even more special as we can request the pots we would like to be included. Some of these may be in the reserve store, and not currently on display, and some may of course be too fragile or precious to be handled. The whole collection can be viewed on-line at Send me any requests (ideally with your booking form), and we’ll see what happens!

The food at the Café du Parc is excellent, as many of you will already know. The menu selections are shown on the booking form included with this newsletter (and will also be on our website). Please indicate your choices on the booking form and return to me, together with a cheque made payable to Westcountry Potters Association for £16.50 per head, no later than Monday 10th January 2011. Cheques can be dated in January if you wish. Please let me know in good time if you have any special dietary requirements.

I look forward to seeing you in January, for what I’m sure will be a very enjoyable and informative day.

Karen Edwards

Click here to download the booking form