A friendly reader has asked me to cover more art outside London, which seems a very fair request. My Art Fund handbook yielded an intriguing entry for the Allen Gallery in Hampshire, with holdings of “English, Continental and Far Eastern pottery, porcelain and tiles”. Alongside works by Bernard Leach, I found this stoneware vase by Shōji Hamada. The photo is far from adequate but I find the lustre of the glaze and use of contrasting colours very appealing. Hamada and Leach met in Japan in 1918, and travelled to St Ives in 1920. They became the first artist potters in the modern sense, taking inspiration from early English slipware and Far Eastern wares. The box bears the inscription “Vase for flowers, persimmon with a splash of blue”, and Hamada’s personal seal in red. The gallery also features an enjoyable display of Chinese export porcelain, including bowls, dishes, teapots and vases.
The Allen Gallery, Alton, Hampshire
Above: Vase. Shōji Hamada. ca. 1955-1965. Stoneware, with iron glaze and blue-green splashed decoration on the neck; not marked. Allen Gallery. Image: ST Fairbairn.