Museum's ceramic collection boosted by £20,000 Art Fund bequest

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery's studio pottery collection has been boosted thanks to the recent acquisition of four key ceramic works presented by The Art Fund.

The pieces, worth over £20,000 came to The Art Fund from Norman Donald Worth, a member of The Art Fund for 12 years and collector of domestic ceramics. When he died in June 2007 he generously left almost 30% of his estate to the charity.

The Art Fund was given the opportunity to select some of the pieces from his ceramic collection in lieu of part of the money from the bequest to help boost a museum’s collection.

The pieces selected were by renowned potters Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, who were all linked to the South West at some point during their careers. The Art Fund knew Plymouth City Museum was keen to acquire works by these artists, and offered the pieces for its collection.

The pieces, two vases by Bernard Leach, a bowl by Lucie Rie and a pot by Hans Coper have a combined estimated value of £20,000 and are an excellent addition to the Museum’s existing pottery collection, which already includes other pieces by Leach, his son David, wife Janet, and Dartington potters such as Marianne de Trey and Bernard Forrester.

“Bernard Leach is often referred to as the ‘father’ of studio pottery and had a main pottery in St Ives, Cornwall, and a second, smaller one at Dartington, Devon, in the 1930s,” explains Assistant Keeper of Art, Alison Cooper. “Lucie Rie was extremely popular for her fine, delicate ‘cosmopolitan’ style and visited Dartingon specifically to see Leach and they struck up a lasting friendship. She also worked and exhibited with Hans Coper, who had a more modernist style.

“Our region has a long standing tradition of arts and crafts of which Leach, Rie and, by association, Coper are part. As a result the acquisition of these pieces is highly significant for the Museum and will ensure the collection is more truly representative of South West studio pottery.”

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: “I’m delighted that The Art Fund has been able to present these four interesting ceramic works to Plymouth City Museum, thanks to the generosity of the late Norman Worth, a long standing member of The Art Fund. It will make a highly appropriate addition to the gallery and is a reminder of the enormous importance of bequests in enhancing our public art collections.”

As part of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery’s refurbishment, the balcony display cases of decorative arts and ceramics are also being redisplayed. The new pieces by Leach, Rie and Coper will be exhibited when the Museum partially re-opens on Saturday 3 May.

For progress on the Museum’s refurbishment visit the Ground Floor Redevelopment section of


For further information about, or interview or photograph opportunities in response to this news release please contact Viv Roue or Jo Clarke on 01752 306228 or email jo.clarke@ or

Notes for editors:

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is currently closed for refurbishment. It will partially re-open on Saturday 3 May 2008 with two new temporary exhibitions. The official opening of its refurbished ground floor will take place in late 2008/early 2009. A number of its services, events and activities are continuing to run at various venues around the city during the closure period. Details of these can be found online at

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit

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