Bernard Forrester at Dartington

Published 22nd February 2023

By Nic Saintey View profile

Bernard Forrester Pottery 4

I would imagine that unless you went to school in Dartington or have an interest in studio pottery you will not have heard of Bernard Forrester. Born in Stoke on Trent it was unsurprising that he went on to take an apprenticeship as a modeller with Minton. After a brief period of travelling he then studied painting before being encouraged in 1932 to join Bernard Leach in St Ives.

Bernard Forrester Pottery 2

Two years later, after several years encouragement from the Dartington, Leach established a pottery at Shinner’s Bridge and bought Bernie Forrester with him to assist and also to undertake some teaching at the school there.

The repetitive nature of production work eventually led to a change of tack and he gave up full time potting for teaching, vowing never to make or decorate two identical pieces. On retirement from education in 1968 Bernie let his creative juices flow and his work was met with a positive response and many exhibitions in Europe and America followed.

Bernard Forrester Pottery 3

I’m sure you’ll agree his pots use an opulent jewel-like palette that often includes gold that gives them a warm and sunny appeal, something that brings a smile to your face when you handle them. Perhaps the ideal use of the dual skills of a potter and a painter.

Bernard Forrester died in 1990, but left his mark not only in his pots, but also you can see his influence in the work, of what I assume, is his granddaughter Rachel May who potted at Foxdown near Ashburton.

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