Bernard Leach is recognised as a giant of 20th-century British studio pottery.

In 1911 he was introduced to ceramic making in Japan, where he studied the craft for two years before setting up his own pottery. In 1920 he returned to Britain, where he established the Leach Pottery in St Ives. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ceramic techniques he pioneered remains hugely influential to this day.

The Alan Bell Collection of Material by Bernard Leach is a substantial archive of drawings, prints and photographs given by Leach to Bell as payment in kind for his secretarial services. Among the treasures in the collection are some of Leach’s student drawings from his time at the Slade School of Art in London, rare etchings he made in England and Japan during his early years as an artist, two extremely rare self-portraits, furniture designs and sketches and watercolours from his extensive travels. Associated material includes books, press cuttings and photographs.

The Crafts Study Centre in Farnham holds the most important archive of work relating to Leach in any public museum. The core of this collection – including ceramics by Leach, reference pots from his collection, as well as drawings, letters and other papers – was gifted by the artist himself. The addition of the Alan Bell Collection now extends the material available for the study and understanding of Leach’s remarkable life and career.


The collection was presented over a period of time by Bernard Leach to Alan Bell. Bell was a fellow Baha'i and assisted Leach as his secretary in St Ives in the 1970's both with Baha'i matters and with his publications, especially

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