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Aldermaston Pottery

Lustre ware bowl by Alan Caiger-Smith

Lustre ware bowl by Alan Caiger-Smith

Alan Caiger-Smith is one of the finest British potters with an international reputation as an artist and lustreware expert. He is a local man who returned to Berkshire in 1955 to set up a collaborative pottery at Aldermaston producing domestic wares. The pottery finally closed in 2006.

Caiger-Smith trained as a painter and always thought that decoration was an integral part of any pot, a belief that was highly unfashionable in the early days of the pottery. The Aldermaston potters spent much time experimenting with clays, tin-glazes, pigments and firing techniques. This led to the building of a unique wood-fired kiln, which in turn enabled the pottery to master reduction-fired lustre - a remarkably difficult and unpredictable tin-glaze technique that had long been ignored in Britain.

From the 1960s Reading Museum collected Aldermaston pottery, and in 1999 it was given an extraordinary lustreware collection by David Castillejo, a major patron of Caiger-Smith. The potter subsequently gave the Museum a range of non-lustre pots from his own collection and the Reading Foundation for Art and the Friends of Reading Museums acquired further complementary pieces. These contemporary pots complement the Museum’s other ceramic collections, such as the important early tin-glaze earthenware in the Blatch and Tufnell Collections which inspired Alan Caiger-Smith as a boy.

You can see a range of Caiger-Smith's work in the Museum's Atirum gallery.

Date updated: 09 Mar 2012


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Date published: 18 Oct 2010


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