Learning Index >> The Lucie Rie Archive at the Crafts Study Centre

by Sophie Heath

All the works illustrated here have a full electronic catalogue record accessible through the VADS database.

All the images in this essay are copyright Yvonne Mayer / Crafts Study Centre, unless otherwise stated.

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Contents:
1. The background of the Lucie Rie Archive and new access through the Headley Trust Project
Lucie Rie and British studio ceramics
The Lucie Rie Archive at the Crafts Study Centre
A survey of the Lucie Rie Archive
2. Primary impressions and general themes of the Archive
A formidable monument to work
Vienna and London: contrasting lives
The thrifty potter
Lucie Rie's taciturn approach to her craft
Lucie Rie and plain-speaking
3. Strengths of the Archive and possibilities for study
The business of the Lucie Rie Pottery - workshop finances
Pot design and glaze recipes
The Festival of Britain, the Council of Industrial Design and the British Council in the 1950s
Exhibitions - preparations and ephemera
German language scholarship
Photographs of pots - different perspectives
Cultural Heritage
4. Isolated but important sources
5. Lacunae
Hans Coper
Sources of inspiration
Teaching
6. Conclusion: the rewards of primary research
The background of the Lucie Rie Archive and new access through the Headley Trust Project
Lucie Rie and British studio ceramics  |back to top|
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Dame Lucie Rie (1902-95) was one of Britain’s most eminent potters (see Fig.1). She enjoyed aesthetic acclaim, financial success, and great public honours in Britain, from a retrospective exhibition at the Arts Council in 1967 to the award of her Damehood in 1991. Her work achieved an international profile, culminating in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1994-95). This show (at an institution known for its commitment to fine art) was a joint exhibition which presented Rie’s ceramics alongside those of her onetime colleague and great friend, the potter Hans Coper (1920-79).[1] The reputation gained by these two potters was forged out of the splintered lives and displacement of Jewish peoples in the Second World War. Rie and Coper both came to Britain as émigrés fleeing the growing influence of the Nazis in Europe. They each endured exile, lifelong separation from close relatives, and financial uncertainty into middle age.[2]
Fig.1 Photograph of Lucie Rie holding a pot in the Albion Mews studio, 1970s
Black and white photograph
32.0 cm(l)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.455.2
During the war years, and immediately afterwards, Lucie Rie ran a ceramic button-making business on the ground floor of her rented London mews flat where she employed a number of refugees. Coper came to Rie’s workshop in 1946 looking for work, penniless, and nursing a dream of becoming a sculptor. For Rie herself the work represented a pragmatic income in the straitened economic environment of post-war Britain – her buttons, and other accessories like jewellery and buckles, were custom-made for the couture market who could not source industrially-made items under rationing restrictions (see Fig.2). More Information
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Fig.2 Three buttons from the Lucie Rie Pottery, 1945-47
Press-moulded ceramic buttons with various glazes
3.8 cm(d)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
P.95.27.1.3
Her ambition was to return to making pots, the craft she was trained in at the prestigious Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Art and Design) in Vienna in the 1920s, and one she had built a reputation in after graduation and marriage. By the time Lucie Rie arrived in London at the age of 36 she had won prizes for her ceramics at several European design fairs, including a gold medal at the Brussels International Exhibition of 1935 (see Fig.3). However, she was unknown in British craft-pottery circles which tended to idealise the traditional or the transcendent aspects of making by hand. Moreover, British studio pots were stylistically inspired by a singular admiration for historical Far Eastern pottery. Rie’s pots had spare lines and textured surfaces springing from the modern aesthetic of Continental design, and were famously not appreciated by leading British commentators (see Fig.4). The potter Bernard Leach advised Rie that her pots were too thin-walled and would benefit from obvious throwing rings; William Honey of the Ceramics Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum told her she was using stoneware glazes on earthenware pots; and Muriel Rose, proprietrix of important venue The Little Gallery, said the feet of her vessels were too weak.[3]
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Fig.3: Gold medal from the Brussels International Exhibition 1935, 1935
Gold-plated plaque
8.0(w) x 6.5(l) x 0.2 cm(d)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.21

Fig.4 Photograph of a pot made by Lucie Rie in Vienna, taken by Lotte Meitner Graf, 1930s
Black and White Photograph
16.0 x 12cm(h)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.375.1
Rie took Coper on as an employee, despite his complete lack of experience with clay, and the Lucie Rie Pottery began to re-orient itself to making domestic tablewares (see Fig.5). The workforce contracted to Rie and Coper who were partners in the design and manufacture of these standard lines: tea and coffee services, cruet sets, salad bowls, and so on. The wares were characteristically angular and thin-walled, and glazed in dark brown or white (or a combination); some were decorated with sgraffito – fine, scratched, linear detailing. Over the next ten years these elegant table ceramics were the mainstay of the Pottery, retailed as stylish design from many upmarket outlets such as Heal’s Department store. More Information
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Fig.5 Tablewares by Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, c.1955
Porcelain with manganese slip and sgraffito decoration
Cup: 5.5 cm(h) Saucer: 4.8 cm (d)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
P.74.114.a-b
Both Rie and Coper pursued individual work when their production regime permitted and a series of joint exhibitions at the Berkeley Galleries in Davies Street in the 1950s were an important showcase for their personal ceramics. By the late 1960s, with Hans Coper now in his own studio (first in Hammersmith, later in Somerset), both potters were principally making one-off works which made reference to the ceramic vessel but which were more objects for display than for everyday use.[4] Although stylistically their pots were very different Rie and Coper remained close friends; they shared a number of exhibitions over the subsequent decades and continued to be united by their independence from collective movements and polemics in the crafts.
The Albion Mews workshop and the mutual inspiration and understanding of the Rie-Coper partnership was the launching pad for two of the most individual, and exceptional careers in British studio ceramics. Tony Birks has written personable and thorough illustrated biographies of both Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.[5] Lucie Rie’s life and ceramics have been surveyed and considered in a number of exhibition catalogues and journal articles.[6]
The Lucie Rie Archive at the Crafts Study Centre  |back to top|
The Lucie Rie Archive was given to the Crafts Study Centre (CSC) by Dr Max and Mrs Yvonne Mayer in 1999. The Mayers, along with Lucie Rie’s longtime friend Cyril Frankel, became Rie’s close companions in her later years, and organised care and administered her affairs when she became ill in the 1990s.[7] The Archive represents the papers and photographs, and some miscellaneous items, from Lucie Rie’s combined home and studio at Albion Mews. These were packed up into boxes largely as they were and delivered to the Centre.
The original gift was spread between 18 boxes and an inventory was compiled by Margot Coatts during 1999. The contents were later condensed into 12 boxes and in 1999 a 13th box of additional material was given to the CSC by Cyril Frankel. In September 2005 a further box of material was deposited with the CSC by Cyril Frankel.
I have carried out a survey of the Lucie Rie Archive in a 15 month project funded by the Headley Trust (completed October 2005). We can now estimate that it contains over 9 000 individual items across the 14 boxes. Accession numbers have been assigned at least to the level of folders and bundles of papers; in some cases items are now numbered individually within these categories. In addition a digitisation arm of the project has delivered around 600 digital photographs and descriptions of selected examples of wide public interest. This substantially improves on the 44 items from the Archive previously digitised.[8] This electronic resource is freely accessible through the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) Visual Arts website http://visualarts.ahds.ac.uk . By choosing search images and selecting the CSC collection category all the digitised works from the Centre can be searched by keyword, and a full illustrated catalogue record pulled up for each result. The support of the Headley Trust has also enabled the preparation of this introduction to the Rie Archive; the illustrations are drawn from the digitised material achieved through the project.
A survey of the Lucie Rie Archive  |back to top|
The Archive includes records drawn from the whole era lived through by Lucie Rie from the 1910s to the 1990s. By far the greatest proportion of items relate to her working life in England from the 1950s to the 1980s – business correspondence, orders and copies of invoices for goods supplied, Rie’s order-books, her technical notebooks, and exhibition publications and ephemera.
The early life and young adulthood of Lucie Rie, born Lucie Gomperz, in Austria is glimpsed through a range of material. Photograph albums and loose prints record her home environment and close relatives, and many outings and get-togethers with a large extended family.[9] Many of these albums appear to have been compiled and carefully labelled by Rie herself. There are some photographs of Lucie Gomperz and her two older brothers Paul and Teddy as children before 1910.[10] Many more show her as a young teenager at play with her cousins: dressed up for
amateur theatrics, swimming, or in the countryside (see Fig.6). Also from this period is a collection of drawings and letters by Lucie Gomperz's brother Paul (b. 1898) whom, her biographer relates, she was especially close to (see Fig.7)[11]. Paul Gomperz had an artistic rather than a martial character but he joined the army at 19, in Birks's words 'to avoid being called a "Jewish coward"'.[12] He was sent to the Italian front in 1917 and killed just a few weeks later in combat. This family tragedy is memorialised in the Archive by several studio portraits of Paul Gomperz from around this time and sheaves of boyish cartoons caricaturing figures of authority,[13] some in the pages of his geometry exercise book (2002.26.510).
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Fig.6: 'Eisenstadt 1918': photograph of Lucie Gomperz, aged 16, with cousins at Eisenstadt, 1918
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
10.0 x 8.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.331.52.1
Fig.7 Photograph of Lucie Gomperz's brother Paul, aged about 18, 1915-17
Black and white photograph, mounted in card
16.0 x 22.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.501
Many photographs from the 1920s attest to Lucie Gomperz’s enthusiasm for active, outdoor leisure often in large groups of friends and relatives: especially skiing but also swimming, sailing, and mountain-walking (see Fig.8). It was through such pursuits that Lucie Gomperz’s family acquaintance with the Ries, another Viennese professional family, gradually led to a match with Hans Rie; they married late in 1926 (see Fig.9). It is possible that more than mutual friends and an appetite for outdoor sports drew Lucie Gomperz and Hans Rie together. Hans had a talented and handsome older brother, Ernst Rie, who went missing while mountain-climbing in the early 1920s. Hans went out with the search party that found his brother frozen to death.[14]
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Fig.8:‘Velden September 1929’: photograph of Lucie Rie in a canoe, 1929
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
8.5 x 6.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.333.30.2
Fig.9 ‘St Moritz Februar 1925’: photograph of Lucie Gomperz and Hans Rie on a skiing holiday , 1925
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
6.5 x 4.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.332.33.1
Records of Lucie Gomperz’s pottery training (1922-26) and her subsequent career in Vienna are more sparse, as are records of her married life more intimate than skiing holidays with friends (see Fig.10). There are bundles of letters to Lucie Gomperz from each of her parents dating from around 1917 right through to the early 1930s (2002.26.502, 505). Likewise a bundle of letters to Hans Rie from many correspondents contains missives dating from well before marriage into the thirties (2002.26.506). Both these caçhes await German-speaking scholarship. An album of honeymoon photographs shows the newlyweds characteristically touring the Rhône glacier before relaxing in Sicily (see Fig.11).
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Fig.10: 'Bochardscharte Ostern 1934': photograph of Lucie and Hans Rie on a skiing trip with friends, 1934
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
11.0 x 7.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.330.35.1
Fig.11 ‘Rhône Urspruno 7.IX.1926’: photograph of the new Mrs Rie by the source of the Rhône river, 7.9.1926
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
14.5 x 8.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.334.7
The few photographs in the Archive showing the Ries in their Vienna apartment have been published several times.[15] The fitted wooden shelving of this interior was designed for Lucie Rie by Ernst Plischke, a young modernist architect.[16] The potter initially bought a chair from Plischke but they established a strong rapport, and he was commissioned to furnish the whole apartment.[17] Rie was so attached to the ensemble that after she reached England she had it shipped and transplanted into Albion Mews.[18] Plischke left Vienna in 1929 for the USA, and worked in New Zealand from 1939 before returning to Austria in the 1950s. A few surviving letters in the Archive attest to the lively and enduring nature of their friendship.[19]
One photograph album includes a handful of prints of Lucie Rie potting in the mid-1930s in her domestic studio (2002.26.330).[20] Most of these images have appeared in the literature (see Fig.12).[21] Her annual reports (glowing) from the Kunstgewerbeschule are preserved in the Archive (2002.26.460). Crucially, so are a few very early notebooks with pot sketches and glaze recipes (see Fig.13).[22] The vessel silhouettes annotated here can be correlated with actual works the potter exhibited in her early career. Many photographs of pots by Lucie Gomperz from 1925-30 are featured in a richly illustrated hardbound publication Austrian Applied Art (1930). It has an introduction by Josef Hoffman, the Principal of the Kunstgewerbeschule, and especially celebrates the achievements of this institution's students and tutors, many of whom were involved in the Wiener Werkstatte. Hoffman is well known as the visionary designer and founder of this design collective which produced a variety of household items in a linear modern style. He gave Rie's work the seal of approval by arranging for it to be included in the Werkstatte galleries.[23] This accolade coupled with her success at subsequent European design fairs indicates the early quality and self-possession of her work.
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Fig.12: Photograph of Lucie Rie at the wheel in Vienna, c.1935
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
9.0 x 8.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2005.40.2.1
Fig.13 Page from a Vienna-period glazing notebook,1920s-30s
Softcover, buff, ruled notebook with sketches and notes in pencil
18.0 x 11.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.666.4b-5a
A small but poignant group of records relating to the Ries’ emigration in the late 1930s survive in the Archive. Lucie Rie’s parents had both recently passed away and her brother Teddy, now an engineer, moved to America.[24] The Ries had the advantage of contacts and being reasonably well-off (Hans Rie was a manager in a hat factory). Their entry into England was sponsored by Theo Frankel, one of their skiing circle whose business interests had been based in the UK for some time.[25] Hans Rie envisaged Britain as a staging post on the way to the US where he had hopes of employment. However, a socially suitable marriage contract had, after a decade, become two people with quite different interests and ambitions.[26] It seems that Lucie Rie resolved that this would be a breaking point; she determined to settle in London alone and resume her ceramics career.
Hans Rie eventually went on to Boston as planned and, as a newspaper cutting kept in the Archive records (2002.26.675), gained a good position managing a hat factory which lead to a successful career; he eventually remarried.[27] A series of letters from 1938-39 addressed to Lucie Rie in Hampstead traces the progress of Rie’s application to the Home Office for a work permit (see Fig.14). In January 1939 Rie’s contact writes, clearly in response to a concerned letter from Rie, apologising for the delay and pleading the large number of cases under consideration. There is a copy of a letter written in March 1939 by Hans Rie to a ‘Miss Hermia’ on behalf of his wife’s cousins, who are still in Germany (2002.26.461.4). He seeks advice on temporary English visas while American ones are sought.[28] The letter’s polite tone and factual assessment belies the extremity of the situation.[29] More Information
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Fig.14 Letter to Lucie Rie from Joan Stiebel regarding Rie's application for a work permit in the UK, 12.1.1939
Typewritten on thick cream paper with printed letterhead 'Otto Schiff'
20.0 x 17.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.82
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The wartime button-making venture at Albion Mews is represented in 20 duplicate books from the years 1941-51 containing invoice copies for orders (2002.26.547-66). Most of these orders are briefly specified by quantities and pattern names such as Toronto or Knots. However some of these carbon records include schematic sketches describing unusual orders. For example a page dated 21.2.42 with ‘Worth’ underlined at the top includes a mnemonic sketch for a buckle design (see Fig.15). The button business grew out of the work Lucie Rie did pressing glass buttons for Bimini, a manufactory established by fellow émigré and old acquaintance Fritz Lampl.
Fig.15 Invoice copy: page 22 from a button order book, 21.2.1942
Carbon-copy of an invoice from a blue, marbled, hardcover, 'Rymans' duplicate book
23.0 x 16.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.566.22
His English business was named after the gallery Lampl had run in Vienna where he had exhibited Rie's pots.[30] It was Lampl's business partner Mr Schenkel who suggested Rie should start up the parallel button production in ceramics which proved so successful.[31] By the late 1940s button orders at Albion Mews are mixed with orders for tea and coffee sets from Bendicks, the smart London-based chocolate retailers. These invoices are addressed to their original premises in Kensington Church Street. Another early client for Lucie Rie's pots was Primavera in Sloane Street, a gallery of applied arts which sold a range of studio craft (see Fig.16). More Information
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Fig.16 Invoice copy: page 23 from a button order book, 18.3.1946
Carbon-copy of an invoice from a buff, hardcover, 'Overall' triplicate book
20.0 x 15.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.560.23
For the following four productive decades at the Lucie Rie Pottery the pot-making itself is richly documented in the Archive. A contrasting aspect within the hectic commercial manufacture is museum acquisitions of Rie's work. These letters and invoices document generally much smaller and more agonised-over purchases for institutions from Australia to Stoke-on-Trent.
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The Archive is a repository for traces of the many honours and achievements of Lucie Rie's career. There are numerous press cuttings, journal articles, and exhibition catalogues. Photographs from the 1980s show Rie with famous personalities: fashion designer Issey Miyake, collector and philanthropist Lady Lisa Sainsbury, and natural history presenter Sir David Attenborough (see Fig.17). These are a few examples of the many prominent figures, leaders in their own field, who were collectors and supporters of Rie's work. Miyake used some of Rie's buttons from the 1940s in his couture collection launched in Paris in 1990.
Fig.17 Photograph of Lucie Rie with Sir David Attenborough, 1988
Colour Photograph
10.0 x 15.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.421.2
He also organised an exhibition of Rie's pots in Japan in 1989. Certificates and medals attest to Rie's many awards. A poster advertises her commemoration in the set of studio pottery stamps issued by Royal Mail in 1987 (see Fig.18). There is the letter from 10 Downing Street dated 1st May 1968 informing Rie of her nomination for an OBE and correspondence regarding her honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in 1969 (2002.26.248.1 and 248.2). In contrast there are also, dispersed amongst these boxes, the intimate paraphernalia of a life: passports, school reports, a driving licence, a pair of glasses, and a photograph of Bernard Leach (who became a dear friend) signed by the great man himself (2002.26.33). More Information
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Fig.18 Poster advertising the issue of a set of Studio Pottery stamps, 1987
Glossy, colour-printed paper
42.0 x 30.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.114.2
Primary impressions and general themes of the archive
A formidable monument to work  |back to top|
The most forcible aspect of the Lucie Rie Archive is the sheer quantity of pots represented over four decades of continuous making. The combined weight of invoices, order books, correspondence requesting pots, exhibition catalogues, and photographs of pots attests to Rie's prodigious workload. There are at least 20 folders', ring-binders', and bundles' worth of invoice copies in the Archive (often correlated with separate letter files).[32] At an average of 100 sheets in each (some contain many more) this gives a rough minimum figure of 50 orders a year over 30 years which is well over 5 a month. These more than 2000 completed orders are almost all post-1950 since there are a further 20 order books for 1941-51 (mixing button and pot manufacture) of 100 pages each (2002.26.547-566). Filling an order might entail 5 pots or 50 but this documentation must represent at least 100 pots a month. Such a guesstimate does not include major exhibitions, for which records are often filed separately, nor loose invoice copies which appear throughout the Archive.
This productivity has been decried in some quarters, especially by the 1980s when Rie was making one-off pots in quantity which often sold for large sums of money.[33] Her myriad variations on a handful of shapes have been criticised as a repetitive practice lacking in fresh inspiration. However Rie expressly differentiated her potting from an artistic mode of practice that invests personal genius and uniqueness in every work.
To make pottery is an adventure to me, every new work is a new beginning. Indeed I shall never cease to be a pupil. There seems to the casual onlooker little variety in ceramic shapes and designs. But to the lover of pottery there is an endless variety of the most exciting kind. And there is nothing sensational about it only a silent grandeur and quietness.
If one should ask me whether I believe to be a modern potter or a potter of tradition I would answer, I don't know and I don't care. Art alive is always modern, not matter how old or young. Art theories have no meaning for me, beauty has. This is all my philosophy. I do not attempt to be original or different. Something which to describe I am not clever enough moves me to do what I do.[34]
Rie's few quoted remarks on her purpose invoke the discipline of practice, the joy of making, and the striving after rigorous personal standards.[35] Sebastian Blackie, potter, relates that in conversation with Lucie Rie in the early 1990s he volunteered that 20 years after graduating from art school he felt that he was just beginning to understand clay; Rie, at nearly 90, replied that she felt the same.[36] Tanya Harrod has commented on Rie's solitary commitment to her craft over conventional social responsibilities - a life spent potting, rather than writing, teaching, or bringing up a family.[37] Rie's reluctance to verbally elaborate on her pots indicates that, for the potter at least, the work should stand for itself without recourse to commentary or vindication. From this perspective, the Archive's extensive matter-of-fact documentation of Rie's day-to-day practice captures the substance of her achievement and the core of her vocation. David Attenborough writes in an introduction to the 1988 solo exhibition at Galerie Besson how he had suggested to Rie that in her 80s she might want to ease up on her early starts and long hours at the wheel; Rie apparently fixed him with a 'gimlet gaze' and said "What else should I do? I am a potter".[38]
However, Janet Leach's recollection of Lucie Rie at the wheel reminds us that work in Rie's home-cum-studio is not work on the model of the commuter's externalised world of work. Leach relates with admiration how Rie could pot, converse graciously, and bake a cake simultaneously.[39] The appointment diaries preserved in the Archive demonstrate that Rie kept days clear for solitary work and associates recall that she resented unscheduled interruptions.[40] Nevertheless, her marrying of economic productiveness with the duties of the hostess and the services of friendship confounds a conventional separation of labour and leisure, and occupation and personality. Jane Coper reflects on this integration in the memorial for Rie published in Crafts.[41]
Lucie did not waste anything. Not just material things, but also her time, energies and emotions. She said 'I am a potter, what else shall I do.' Could this discipline be the secret of how she had time for all of us, and still time for her amazing pots? Lucie's own explanation was 'but I am never tired when I make pots.'
In the fusion of Rie's life with her place of work at Albion Mews, her pottery is aligned with the flexible labour of homemaking and implicated in the consolidation of relationships. These qualities of Rie's vocation demonstrate the relevance of feminist perspectives for appreciating and understanding her pots.
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In the sheaves of invoice copies in the Archive several clients recur many times. Primavera was a crucial venue for studio pottery established by Henry Rothschild in 1945 when he arrived back in England following his war service.[42] The Archive demonstrates that Rothschild ordered from Rie throughout four decades.[43] Heal’s Department Store provided a stylish outlet for the post-war crafts in their ‘Craftsman’s market’ section;[44] and stocked Rie’s pots from the 1950s through the 1980s. Liberty’s was another regular client. In the 1950s Rie got exposure in New York through Bonniers Department Store which regularly re-ordered her homewares and held a dedicated exhibition of her work in 1954 (see Fig.19).
Fig.19 Letter and confirmation of an order from Goran Holmquist of Bonniers, New York, 7.3.1955
Carbon-copy of typescript
25.5 x 20.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.231.5.3.1-2
Rie also sold her ceramics through many smaller outlets all over Britain: in St Ives The New Craftsman, the shop at Dartington Hall in Devon, the Oxford Gallery (1977-86), Peter Dingley in Stratford-upon-Avon (1966-91). As early as 1942 Lucie Rie exchanged some lively correspondence with a Miss Wrench of the Craftworkers’ Association in Edinburgh about selling her ceramics in Scotland (see Fig.20).[45] Important venues in London from around 1970 documented in the Archive were the Marjory Parr Gallery in Kings Road (2002.26.247), the British Crafts Centre, and the Casson Gallery in Marylebone High Street. Later still, the Crafts Council shop at the Victoria & Albert Museum were regular clients, as were Fischer Fine Art, and Galerie Besson. More Information
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Fig.20 Letter from Miss Wrench of the Craftworkers' Association, Edinburgh, 23.5.1942
Typewritten on medium-heavy white paper with letterhead of ‘The Craftworkers’ Association’ printed in green at the top
20.5 x 13.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.160.6a-b
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The international scope of Rie’s distribution from very early on is striking. In the 1950s Rie was sending substantial orders to Wellington in New Zealand (see Fig.21). It seems likely that this grew up through the connection of Ernst Plischke who worked in New Zealand through the 1940s. Also after the war the British Council organised several touring exhibitions of British products to North America which brought Rie business from across the USA and Canada.[46] Georg Jensen was another outlet for her pots in New York in the 1950s and in later decades the Graham Gallery in this city was a regular client. From the 1970s Rie made pots for individuals from Venezuela, South Africa, Australia, Israel, and France as well as many customers in North America.
Fig.21 Letter and order from John Bidwill of Stockton's in Wellington, New Zealand, 31.5.1954
Typewritten on airmail stationary printed with the letterhead ‘Stockton’s contemporary furniture, fittings and accessories’ in brown
25.5 x 19.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.231.2.2a-b
Vienna and London: contrasting lives  |back to top|
Lucie Rie's single-minded and solitary dedication to her potting after her arrival in England is manifest in the Archive through the accumulated drifts of carbon copies, traces of filled orders. This discipline appears monastic in comparison to the well-travelled, sociable, and sporty circles Rie moved through in her youth. Black and white photographs from Austria capture European tours with cousins, picnics with a large extended family, summer holidays swimming and boating (see Fig.22), and cross-country skiing with a band of friends (2002.26.325-27, 331). Pictures of skiing expeditions predominate above all (2002.26.330, 332-34), showing an athletic, boyishly-dressed Lucie Rie against the spectacular alpine backdrops of the Austrian and Swiss mountains (see Fig.23). On these trips a large group of friends and relatives would ski for several days, staying overnight at isolated travellers' huts with few comforts.[47]
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Fig.22 ‘Molveno 1930':
photograph of Hans Rie diving into Lake Molveno
, 1930
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
8.5 x 6.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.333.17.1
Fig.23 ‘Ehrenbachhohe Brunnalpen Abfahrt Ostern 1931’: photograph showing Lucie Rie with companions on a skiing trip, 1931
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
9.0 x 12.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.333.22.2
Lucie Gomperz was the youngest child of three and the only daughter of Benjamin and Gisela Gomperz. Dr Benjamin Gomperz was a successful ear, nose, and throat specialist who held his surgery at the family home in Vienna (see Fig.24). Gisela Gomperz (see Fig.25) was born into the wealthy wine-producing Wolf family of Eisenstadt and the Gomperz children spent a lot of time at the Wolf estate (see Fig.26).[48]
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Fig.24 Photograph of Lucie Rie’s father, Dr Benjamin Gomperz, in his surgery, 1890s
Black and white photograph, sepia-toned, in poor condition
7.0 x 9.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.464.5.1-2
Fig.25 Photograph of Lucie Rie's mother, Gisela Gomperz, neé Wolf, c.1905
Black and white photograph
12.0 x 9.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.376.9
Fig.26 Photograph of members of Lucie Rie’s family on the balcony at the Wolf Villa at Eisenstadt, 1910s-1920s
Black and white photograph
9.0 x 7.5 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.464.4
So Lucie Rie grew up in a confident, educated family which enjoyed all the accoutrements and refinements of wealth and social position. Vienna in the early 20th century was still enjoying the legacy of a proud imperial history which had supported prosperity and cultural sophistication in the 18th and 19th centuries. The city was a pivotal centre of the Art Nouveau movement in the late 19th century with its organic decorative and mannered styles. This gave way in the 1890s to a concerted, polemical push for Modernism of an austere and functional form in architecture and interiors.[49] John Houston points out that all this co-existed with an eclectic historicism in highly decorated household objects which clearly had a popular market.[50] The variously and self-consciously modern interiors of fin de sieclé Vienna were Lucie Gomperz's inheritance. This constellation of economic ease, intellectual aspiration, and embrace of the modern age made it natural for the Gomperzs' cherished daughter to follow her dreams.[51] For Lucie Gomperz the alternatives to studio pottery were considered medicine or science.[52] While her marriage to Hans Rie may not have been a meeting of minds it doesn't seem that there was any restriction of her independence, or jealous constraint of her ambitions.
Lucie Gomperz’s maternal uncle Alexandre Wolf (known as Sandor) was an important influence on her early years. He was a bachelor, aesthete, collector, and traveller, as well as overseer of the family’s vineyards (see Fig.27).[53] Wolf’s collections of antiquities and Roman pottery are one of the few inspirations that Lucie Rie ever pinned down for her own work. The collection was sold after the war but the Wolf villa itself is preserved as the area’s regional museum.[54] In the 1920s Uncle Sandor took Lucie Gomperz and two cousins on cultural tours of Europe: in 1922 they travelled around the Classical sites of Italy and in 1924 they toured French cities (particularly medieval centres), finishing with a few days in Monaco.[55] More Information
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Fig.27 Photograph of Lucie Rie's maternal uncle, Alexandre Wolf, mountainwalking, 1890s
Black and white photograph, poor condition
9.0 x 7.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.517.1
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These trips are documented in the Archive in two photograph albums neatly labelled and dated by his Gomperz niece (2002.26.328-29) (see Fig.28). So by the time Lucie Gomperz was 25 she had a firsthand acquaintance with many of the major architectural monuments of European art history.[56] In Rie’s later years, in the face of wide acclamation for her pots and high saleroom prices, she insisted that she was a potter and nothing more. The motivation behind this statement and whether it defines the status of her work is one debate. But it is arguable that Rie’s clarity in following her own direction in a craft medium (and standing apart from craft-based polemics) partly sprang from her induction into the Classical canon of art.[57]
Fig.28 'Arles, St Trophime 30.IV': photograph of Lucie Rie with two cousins in France, 30.4.1924
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
10.0 x 8.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.329.21
It is as though the grandeur of the example of history provided the ballast for Rie to work from first principles in her ceramics rather than justifying her practice in relation to her contemporaries. This argument does not assume that Rie's pots are timeless Ur forms (which is certainly one strand in their appreciation). However, it does suggest avenues for exploring how Rie's social pedigree supported her practice as a single woman in an initially unsympathetic milieu in England.
The glimpses of Lucie Rie's early family-oriented, active, and cosmopolitan lifestyle are in striking contrast to the introverted rhythm of her studio potting in London. However the opposition of the pre-war holiday photographs in the Archive with the piles of orderbooks post-war cannot be taken as a complete picture. While in her London existence Rie could not often afford to travel overseas (at least before the 1970s) she did make a trip to New York in the 1950s when her work was exhibited at Bonnier's. Birks notes a solo skiing trip to Switzerland in late 1948 and spells in Suffolk with the Freuds.[58] A close reading of some of the Archive papers and the geography of Rie’s friendships shows that she made fairly frequent trips out of London to friends in Wales, Bernard Leach in St Ives, and later to Hans Coper in Somerset.[59] The driving trip that Rie and Coper took with their New Yorker friend Stella Snead to Avebury in Wiltshire around 1948 is often cited for the impression that the Stone Age artefacts made on the potters.[60]
It is indisputable that Rie’s English period was closely tied to the Albion Mews workshop and therefore, as critics have observed, an urban context.[61] However, though less recorded in the concrete traces of the Archive, the England beyond London provided an important haven and inspiration at intervals for Rie. A photograph of Lucie Rie sunbathing in the 1960s taken by Stella Snead (a professional photographer) shows a hedonism not so far-removed from Rie’s love of the outdoors in Austria (see Fig.29). More Information
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Fig.29 Photograph of Lucie Rie sunbathing by Stella Snead, 1960s
Black and white photograph
14.0 x 10.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2005.40.3.1
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Any atmosphere of the recluse is banished by Lucie Rie’s appointment diaries (preserved for the years 1979-89, a decade when Rie was in her 80s) which testify to her lively schedule of social engagements centred on Albion Mews (2002.26.642-54). Each week from January to December at least three visits from close friends, fellow-potters, dealers, collectors, and so on, are timetabled in these week-at-a-glance diaries. For 1979 Rie has used the year planner at the front of the diary to note the anticipated date for some of the visitors to the Pottery in each month; she expected ‘Ove’ [Arup?] on the 16th April, ‘Plischke’ [Ernst?] 26th June and Hans Rie 21st September (see Fig.30).
Fig.30 Year planner from Lucie Rie's appointment diary, 1979, 1979
Double opening inside front cover of hardback red 'Langham' appointment diary with printed year planner and pen additions
18.0 x 28.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.648.1-2
The reciprocal experience of these audiences is described in countless thank-you cards and letters preserved in the Archive. These, whether prompted by a one-time meeting or a long association, express the admiration and affection that Rie inspired personally. They also conjure the cloistered and calm environment she established at Albion Mews.[62] A thank-you letter written to Lucie Rie by Lord David Eccles, then Minister for the Arts, expresses gratitude for the afternoon tea he enjoyed at Albion Mews and the pot he has bought (see Fig.31); historically, he mentions his attendance at the first-ever meeting of the Crafts Advisory Committee, later to become the Crafts Council. More Information
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Fig.31 Thank-you letter to Lucie Rie from David, Lord Eccles, 8.10.1971
Letter handwritten on heavy paper with the letterhead of the Paymaster General printed at the top
21.0 x 14.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.232.5.9a-b
Many published anecdotes recalling Lucie Rie relate the gracious and slightly formal hospitality that she extended to visitors.[63] A tour of the studio and sometimes a demonstration was followed by home-made cakes and coffee served in Rie’s own cups and saucers.
We sat taking coffee poured from a Bernard Leach pot into black and white Rie cups, we enjoyed the chocolate cake or fruit cake with whipped cream and the neat slices of pumpernickel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, arranged in a rectangle on the plate and served with silver tongs.[64]
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This enjoyment of the ceremony and paraphernalia of afternoon tea incorporates aspects of both English and Viennese social refinements – the country house weekend and the café-konditorei.[65] A more intimate and bohemian style of entertaining is hinted at in a thank-you letter of the 1950s from Robin Tanner, an early supporter of Rie and the studio crafts in general.[66] The letter is written in Tanner’s calligraphic hand on the back of a photograph showing a jug by Lucie Rie overflowing with spring flowers.[67] He expresses gratitude for a memorable evening at Albion Mews including Hans Coper and Fritz Lampl, citing especially the stimulating conversation and the Indian music (see Fig.32).
Fig.32 Thank-you letter to Lucie Rie from Robin Tanner, 1952-54
Calligraphic script written in ink on the back of a black and white photograph
14.0 x 14.0cm
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2005.40.1.1a-b
The Thrifty Potter  |back to top|
Among the Archive’s most striking physical impressions is Lucie Rie’s evident frugality at Albion Mews. The boxes are full of little economies: battered ring-binders so stuffed with papers that pages can hardly be turned over, notebooks written cover to cover, letters and invoices turned over and used for drafts of letters or sketches of pots. A wall calendar for 1945 with tear-off pages has been used as an order book for part of 1946 (see Fig.33). The materials used in all Rie’s documentation are markedly thrifty – cheap, thin paper that has aged badly, becoming brittle and yellowed. Her ‘order books’ are inexpensive folder refills of lined paper tied together with string (2002.26.636-41). Even into the 1970s and 80s, when Rie was financially comfortable and commanded fame and high prices, her notebooks and diaries remain standard newsagent stationary. More Information
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Fig.33 Page from a wall calendar for 1945 with pot orders, 1945-46
Printed calendar with tear-off pages with written notes
16.0 x 11.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.681.6
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None of this is surprising in someone who lived through the economic collapse of the 1930s and wartime rationing. Britain was subject to shortages into the 1950s. Still it is salutary in relation to our own times of polychrome, internationally-sourced, material luxury, and it is in contrast to the wealth and accessories of Rie’s own upbringing. In the letters exchanged between Lucie Rie and her parents in the 1920s each correspondent has their own elegant, personally monogrammed notepaper (2002.26.502). On the marriage of Lucie Gomperz and Hans Rie calling cards for ‘Hans und Lucie Rie’ were printed for the couple; a few remain in the white cardboard box embossed with wedding wreaths (2002.26.328). A set of personalised stationary printed for ‘Lucie Rie-Gomperz’ was probably designed slightly later when Rie was pursuing her pottery career in Vienna (see Fig.34).
Fig.34 Stationary personalised for Lucie Rie-Gomperz, 1920s-30s
Notepaper and an envelope printed with a letterhead in gray
Sheet of writing paper: 24.0 x 18.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.459.1-3
The newly-married Ries were given the use of their flat at 24 Wollzeile by Lucie Rie’s Uncle Sandor who owned the apartment block.[68] The bespoke interior designed by Plischke indicates the quality and exclusivity the couple could command. Lucie Gomperz’s family frequented a variety of international leisure destinations in an era when overseas travel was the preserve of the well-off.
Likewise the Ries could ski in St. Moritz and spend their summer holidays at the well-appointed resort of Lake Molveno in mountainous North Italy. Taormina in Sicily where Hans and Lucie Rie spent their honeymoon was another exclusive destination patronised by celebrated sophisticates such as Oscar Wilde and the Viennese Gustav Klimt. It was appreciated for its mix of Classical ruins with a spectacular setting and contemporary humble charm. The couple’s photographs show them at ease in this atmosphere of elegant and educated leisure (see Fig.35). More Information
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Fig.35 ‘Taormina’: photograph of Lucie Rie standing against the hotel balcony, 1926
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
6.0 x 4.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.334.27.2
Lucie Rie's taciturn approach to her craft  |back to top|
In general the Archive confirms the potter's reticence over the motivation and significance of her craft. There is no undiscovered caçhe of poetry, prose, or correspondence setting out her artistic intentions, elaborating on her inspiration, nor expressing a philosophical position. The carbon copies and drafts of Rie's own letters preserved in the Archive are mainly brief, reserved, and matter-of-fact. From the mid-1950s a letter to Rie from Alix Mackenzie, the wife of well-known American potter Warren Mackenzie, laments that Rie's letters get shorter and shorter.[69] Ms Mackenzie's own correspondence, part of a series exchanged over the lengthy preparations for an exhibition of Rie and Coper's work at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is long, newsy, and intimate. She confesses hopes and fears for her family and their pottery business.
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However there are exceptions to this, though invariably fragmentary and unannounced. On three loose sheets, otherwise unrelated but piled together in a bundle of miscellaneous orders and letters, Rie has made notes on the influence of Hans Coper for her own work (see Fig.36). Rie’s warm acknowledgement of Coper’s talent and his pivotal boost to her confidence in the post-war years is known from friends’ testimony.[70] But it is moving to see these sentiments scribbled in Rie’s handwriting on a page torn from a diary, a private view invite, and a sheet of paper with other rough notes.
Fig.36 Page two of three in notes by Lucie Rie on the influence of Hans Coper for her work, c.1981
Handwritten in ink on heavy paper with printed heading ‘Notes’, the sheet torn out, probably from a diary
23.0 x 15.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.246.2.2a
From much earlier there are several letters exchanged in 1946 between Rie and Rudolf Neufeld who worked at Albion Mews briefly just after the war. Neufeld went to live in rural Wales but for a short while he continued to do piecework for Rie pressing buttons and sending them back in parcels. His letters surviving in the Archive express concern and give business advice to his employer in a playful and familiar tone. This missive with a carbon copy of Rie's reply (2002.26.634-35), is preserved inside the cover of the contemporary order book (2002.26.560).
She takes his jokes in good spirits ‘Dear Rudolfus, you are also not so good at figures …’ but responds to his predictions of button-pressing productivity and exponential returns with her yearning to make pots – ‘The point is that I don’t want to earn such a lot of money – but that I want to work less and to make pots’ (see Fig.37). Through the familiarity and confidences of friendship we glimpse Rie’s passion and ambition for her private potting vocation, though her workshop continued to make buttons and other accessories for several years.[71] Another example of Rie expressing clear emotion is found in the draft thank-you letters responding to the opening of the Arts Council retrospective of her work in 1967 (2002.26.253.18-19). This event represented a fulfilment of Rie’s dreams to pot on her own terms in Britain. More Information
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Fig.37 Copy of letter from Lucie Rie to Rudolf Neufeld, 26.6.1946
Carbon copy on thin paper of typescript
16.0 x 11.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.634
In her thank-you note to Gabriel White, Director of Art at the Arts Council, her appreciative recollection of the party after the exhibition opening evokes a fairytale-like scene with dear friends, festive decoration, and the food laid out beautifully 'like jewels'. She writes to George Wingfield-Digby, who played a large part in organising the show, how she didn't want to leave although normally she doesn't like parties, and how sorry she was to go early but she could not leave Bernard Leach to go to the train alone 'I have been taking Bernard to the train for 20 years'. These drafts with corrections are typewritten on the reverse of an unused report form for her students at Camberwell School of Art![72]
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Similarly a chink occasionally opens in Lucie Rie’s stoic silence over the experiences of the 1930s: the loss of both her parents, flight from her homeland, lifelong exile from Uncle Sandor who went to Israel in 1939.[73] A letter interleaved with an order book from the early 1980s perhaps contains an allusion to these separations. The letter itself is in German from a Dr Carl Rosenhagen but on the back of this typewritten missive is Rie’s handwritten draft for her reply (see Fig.38). It is a heartfelt and spontaneous response to the experience of loss.
Fig.38 Letter to Lucie Rie from Dr Rosenhagen with Rie’s draft reply on the reverse, 1.7.1983
Letter typewritten on medium-weight cream paper with handwritten draft reply
26.0 x 18.0 cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.641.11.1a-b
What a beautiful letter - serene and beautiful and very sad - perhaps so sad because you do not say anything about your loss. It is not easy to lose a mother - they leave an empty space in one's life. I admire your vivid description of this marvellous lady. I regret that I missed to make pots for her. There is nothing I can say - only thank you from my whole heart for have[sic] painted this beautiful picture for me. All my loving thoughts and best wishes
In a letter to Sue (a friend or relative) who has arrived in South Africa to live Rie offers, albeit briefly, her recollections of the strangeness of emigration (2002.26.235.2, dated 7.2.77).
Lucie Rie and plain-speaking  |back to top|
Despite the general impression of restraint and gracious manners Lucie Rie's creative self-deprecation did not prevent her from being forthright in business dealings. Birks and close acquaintances note that Rie found pretension unlovable and could be pithy in dismantling presumption.[74] Rie's correspondence with her stockists demonstrates her straightforwardness and, when challenged, a flinty determination. In the 1950s a series of communiqués went back and forth between Rie and Mollie Carter of Mollie Carter Contemporary Design, Vancouver (2002.26.231.6.1-14). Initially Rie granted Carter exclusive distribution rights in British Columbia, settled in early 1954. However by early June Rie writes retracting this agreement as no order has been placed with the Pottery (2002.26.231.6.12a-b). This prompts an alarmed telegram announcing that an order has been sent and begging for the exclusive rights to remain in force (2002.26.231.10.1-2).
On the 21st June Rie replies unmoved and still awaiting the order but on the 3rd July she writes again to acknowledge receipt of the promised order and to offer sole rights for a period of one year. Carter writes arguing that it is not economical for her to invest in promoting Rie’s ceramics if she can’t command indefinite rights. In September a copy of a letter from Rie informs Carter that the completed order is about to be shipped and that she retains the right to reconsider their arrangement after one year. Orders for Mollie Carter Contemporary Design continue into 1955. A proud spirit is evident well into Rie’s later life as a copy of a letter sent when she was 82 to Christian Dior Ltd. illustrates (see Fig.39). More Information
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Fig.39 Copy of a letter to Christian Dior Ltd. from Lucie Rie, 5.12.1981
Carbon copy on very thin paper of typewritten letter
22.0 x 18.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.573.1
I bought enclosed parfum 5 weeks ago at Boots. It has hardly any scent. I should like to know also if Diorissimo has changed - also the Eau de Toilette - which I don't find as nice as it used to be.
Strengths of the Archive and possibilities for study
The business of the Lucie Rie Pottery - workshop finances  |back to top|
The Lucie Rie Archive offers a rare and valuable opportunity to analyse the finances of a craft pottery workshop in detail. Both small-run production of domestic wares and the making of one-off items to commission and for retail distribution are exhaustively documented in the Archive. Invoice copies describe individual items and break down the wholesale cost of each. Correspondence with Rie's distributors provides evidence over several decades of the mark-up applied by galleries and the prices paid by consumers for crafted pottery. There are some copies of orders for raw materials from the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent and the Fulham Pottery (2002.26.351). Extensive records of transport and insurance costs accompany orders shipped overseas (eg. 2002.26.353).
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A cluster of utility bills and rent receipts for Albion Mews is preserved from the 1960s (2002.26.355). The day-to-day costs of running the pottery are documented in Rie’s careful accounting of petty expenses in the early years of the business. Her cash book for 1958-64 records weekly expenditure on wages, materials, flowers, cigarettes, stamps, and so on (see Fig.40). Also preserved in the Archive are copies of saleroom catalogues, especially for the Contemporary Ceramics sales at Bonhams, in which are documented Rie’s pots put up for auction.[75] Together this evidence placed in the public domain offers the possibility of examining the hard numbers of making pots by hand in the late 20th century England.
Fig.40 Pages from Lucie Rie’s petty cash book 1958-64, entries for May 1958
Handwritten entries in red, hardcover, ‘Century’, ruled notebook
14.0 x 8.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.555.1b-2a
The realities Rie and Coper faced producing and selling tablewares in the 1950s are brought home by the retail trade magazines from this era preserved in the Archive. All the kept issues contain a feature promoting Rie's pots. One includes an advertisement for a mug made by Hans Coper commemorating the Queen's coronation in 1952![76] This is a sufficiently clear contrast with the exhibitions Rie and Coper held contemporaneously at the Berkeley Galleries to illustrate the discipline and opportunism involved in making ends meet. As a business that had to operate on a viable financial footing the Lucie Rie Pottery provides a promising comparative study for the often chaotic and overdrawn finances of other post-war craft workshops.[77] In the 1970s the economics of Rie’s practice offers a contrast for many British creative ceramic careers of the ‘70s and ‘80s which were partly supported by teaching sinecures.[78]
Pot design and glaze recipes  |back to top|
The Archive illuminates the exchanges between Lucie Rie and her clients involved in planning an order. In the post-war decades Rie sent pricelists and sample photographs of the Pottery’s tablewares to prospective stockists such as Mollie Carter introduced above. Some of the early black and white photographs of pots in the Archive are clearly prints taken for this purpose. A picture of two jugs standing on woven raffia matting has ‘Miss Guelft Interiors’ written on the back (see Fig.41). More Information
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Fig.41 Photograph of two jugs by Lucie Rie, c.1940s
Black and white photograph with notes in pen on the reverse
9.0 x 8.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.377.9a-b
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This method secured many trial orders for Rie which themselves demonstrate what sold well in this genre at different times. Where stand-alone works are concerned letters show customers making specific requests for the shape, colour, and decoration of the pots. This is true of long-time dealers in Rie’s work and first-time buyers.[79] For example gallery owner Peter Dingley writes in 1976 requesting more pots and noting what styles he has sold out of. (see Fig.42).
Fig.42 Letter to Lucie Rie from Peter Dingley, 4.10.1976
Typewritten on heavy paper with the letterhead of the Peter Dingley Gallery printed in black at the top
28.0 x 20.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.235.21.2.1
The Peter Dingley Gallery in Stratford-upon-Avon was a successful outlet for Rie's work, consistently selling her pots during the 1970s and 80s and holding several dedicated exhibitions (see Fig.43). Rie has filed this letter with the carbon copy of the invoice for the completed order and with a sheet bearing silhouette sketches roughing out pot designs (see Fig.44). These outline drawings by the potter are individually annotated with her remarks on the composition of the clay bodies and glazes, fired colours, and price estimates. This allows them to be correlated exactly with the items listed on the invoice (see Fig.45).
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Fig.43 Photograph of the Peter Dingley Gallery, Stratford-Upon-Avon, with Lucie Rie pots in situ, 1970s-80s
Black and white photograph with ‘Peter Dingley Gallery’ written on back
12.0 x 18.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.384.3.4
Fig.44 Loose sheet with pot sketches and added notes for an order, 1976
Carbon copy on very thin paper of freehand pot sketches overwritten with additions and notes in black ink
25.0 x 20.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.235.21.2.3
Fig.45 Copy of invoice for pots made for Peter Dingley, 17.11.1976
Carbon copy on thin paper of a typewritten invoice
28.0 x 20.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.235.21.2.2
Rie’s order books and the many loose sheets kept with invoice copies, are covered with these thumbnails, swiftly executed in pen. These aides memoire vividly capture the characteristic shapes of Rie’s vessels and often indicate the linear patterns of her favoured sgraffito decoration (very thin scratched lines). Thus Rie’s own shorthand for describing her ceramics works with the same criteria that her clients responded to: shape, colour, and the graphic impact of decoration.
Considered together with correspondence from customers, these working drawings appear to show that Rie responded to orders specifically, spontaneously building a proposed selection of profiles, colours, and textures to match a more or less detailed brief. The notebooks in the Archive demonstrate that the same properties were crucial elements of Rie’s pot design from her earliest training – the outline sketch with careful notes on the exact combination of clay, glaze and decoration. (see Fig.46). Emmanuel Cooper has published a reflection on this notation in Rie’s order books and an account of how they served as a working reference library for the potter.[80] This article provides a starting point for a more in-depth study for which the material is certainly present. More Information
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Fig.46 Pages from one of Lucie Rie’s glazing notebooks, >1950
Ruled exercise book with notes written in pencil and various inks
18.5 x 15.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.670.9b-10a
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In 1992 the potter and authority on historical Chinese glazes, Nigel Wood, contributed a thorough consideration of Lucie Rie’s glazing and decorating techniques to the catalogue for the 1992 Rie show at the Crafts Council.[81] Wood articulates the uniqueness of Rie’s preferred process of raw-glazing her stonewares. That is, there is no initial (bisque) firing of the clay; the glaze and body are matured at the same time, achieving an exceptional fusion. He also draws out Rie’s distinctive practice of applying glazes gradually with a brush rather than coating vessels by dipping them (see Fig.47). This builds up micro-variations in texture and depth where dipping generates a smooth skin of glaze of nearly uniform thickness.
Fig.47 Photograph of Lucie Rie’s decorating wheel at Albion Mews, 1980s-90s
Colour photograph
8.5 x 12.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.382.8.8
Through an examination of Rie’s glaze notebooks Wood concludes that the dramatic range of surface effects she achieved over her career were based on elaborations of a handful of fundamental recipes.[82] By introducing different colourants and active minerals to a familiar glaze the potter built up a finely-delineated and well-understood repertoire of textures and colours. This argument is demonstrated in Rie’s notebooks where numbered recipes are underwritten with A, B, and C variants incorporating changes, additions, and observations (see Fig.48). The accumulation of variety in this branching way is a different experimental model from the serendipitous variation generated in the wood-burning kiln where the unpredictable atmosphere may give many different outcomes from the same recipe. More Information
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Fig.48 Pages from one of Lucie Rie’s glazing notebooks, >1930
Ruled, black, hardcover notebook with notes written in various inks
19.0 x 15.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.673.2b-3a
Rie used an electric kiln with a steady oxidising environment which tends to produce very consistent results with a given raw material. Wood’s valuable essay provides a foundation for a detailed study of the eleven extant glaze notebooks to develop a better grasp of Rie’s very individual methods.
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The glazing notebooks are not dated and were clearly used actively and annotated over many years. However, some are written in German and others contain a mixture of German and English, giving some indication of their initial era. All of Rie’s glazing records clearly demonstrate the rigorous technical training gained from her tutor at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Michael Powolny. His surviving works are in a figurative and historicist style that is far removed from Rie’s work but he is remembered as a skilled and careful technician.[83] This legacy is apparent in Rie’s ease with formulas and chemical terms in her notes and possibly allows a more quantitative interrogation of her work than for many potters (see Fig.49).
Fig.49 Photograph of shelves in Lucie Rie’s workshop containing glaze ingredients, 9.5.1995
Black and white photograph
19.0 x 23.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.403.1
The Festival of Britain, the Council of Industrial Design and the British Council in the 1950s  |back to top|
There is a considerable body of correspondence in the Archive between Lucie Rie and Council of Industrial Design (CoID) officials concerning Rie's participation in the Festival of Britain, held in 1951. This post-war exposition of British lifestyle aspirations and manufacture was significantly held in the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851.[84] It promoted an eccentric combination of the traditional and wholesome besides the stylish and modern in British culture. Together these brave ideals successfully captured the public imagination and countered the effects of material shortages and economic strain from World War Two.[85] The subsequent internationally-touring exhibitions of British products organised by the British Council had a similar optimistic, forward-looking agenda.[86] Tanya Harrod points out that the inclusion of contemporary handmade crafts in both these arenas reveals much about the vision of British identity and manufacturing expertise being promoted at this time.
The documentation which survives administering Lucie Rie's contribution to the Festival of Britain impresses first of all with the weight of bureaucracy involved.[87] Rie had works accepted in several categories: the room settings which evoked a vision of modern living, souveneirs, and jewellery.[88] Each of these was subject to different judging procedures and schedules, and generated its own stream of paperwork. In the case of the room settings the original selection made from Rie's submission was later amended and a different subset of pots chosen. The advantage of all these forms and departmental divisions is that a reasonably detailed picture of the works included in the exhibition can be built up. A letter dated the 23rd August 1950 informs Rie that a 'glazed white stoneware vase with lid', valued at £28, has been placed on the 'stock list' for the 'Homes and Gardens' section (2002.26.163.3).
Also in the Archive is correspondence and exhibition catalogues relating to touring British Council exhibitions of the 1950s. There is considerable evidence in correspondence and orders that the Design from Britain show, which toured North America under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute, generated a lot of interest in Rie's work. For example on the 21st April 1953 William Metcalf writes from Alabama under the letterhead of 'Sherlock, Smith & Adams, architects and engineers' (2002.26.188.1). He has seen Rie's work at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Washington and wonders if it is possible to order?[89] It could be hypothesised that this gave her the confidence and justification to pursue distribution on this continent.
Exhibitions - preparations and ephemera  |back to top|
From the 1950s onwards preparing for exhibitions was a major part of Lucie Rie's working life. She participated in countless shows within the United Kingdom, and her work appeared at many venues across Europe, similarly in North America, and several times in Japan. The Archive records this activity in many ways from invoices for small commercial galleries putting on a solo show, to full suites of exhibition ephemera for major retrospectives featuring catalogues, invitations, photographs, reviews, postcards, and more. Within this immense coverage a few examples illustrate some possible directions for primary research.
In the 1950s the opportunity to exhibit at the Berkeley Galleries was instrumental in raising Lucie Rie’s profile (Hans Coper’s reputation as a potter was also established through their joint shows here). The production values of the Galleries’ exhibitions were high in times of austerity: in 1951 the Rie-Coper show was accompanied by a glossy leaflet with several black and white illustrations which doubled as a private view invitation (see Fig.50).[90] The whole framing of Rie and Coper’s work in this prestigious setting is fascinating. The Galleries were in Davies Street, then as now a smart shopping and gallery district.[91] At that time their proprietor William Ohly, himself a painter and sculptor, showed principally ancient artefacts and tribal art, both genres associated with the fundamental and honest expression that high modernism aspired to.[92] More Information
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Fig.50 Exhibition leaflet for the joint Rie-Coper show at the Berkeley Galleries, December 1951, 1951
Black and white printing on glossy paper with photographic reproductions
24.5 x 16.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.308.1-4
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A series of striking photographs taken in the 1960s show pots by Rie in situ at the same gallery in a solo exhibition. Rie’s vessels are aesthetically grouped on woven textiles with rough textures and bold geometric patterns (descriptors that could equally be applied to Rie’s ceramics) (see Fig.51).[93] It bears restating that the only exemplars Rie acknowledged in her art were the sort of things that might have been exhibited at the Berkeley Galleries.[94] These combined circumstances surely indicate Rie’s ease amongst an aesthetics of formal properties and universal qualities. The 1951 show was opened by the art critic Maurice Collis, while in 1953 respected architect Ove Arup spoke (2002.26.116.14). Edmund de Waal has noted that Rie and Coper were exceptional among the craftspeople of their generation in their resonance with and recognition by contemporary architectural practice.[95] The strands of humility and reticence in Rie’s craft must be reconciled with the grandeur and ambition of the resonances her ceramics achieved.
Fig.51 Photograph by Jane Gate (later Coper) of pots by Lucie Rie at the Berkeley Galleries 1962, 1962
Black and white photograph
28.0 x 26.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.365.2a
There is a significant bundle of documents relating to the Arts Council retrospective of Lucie Rie's work held in 1967 (2002.26.253). Besides Rie's draft thank-you letters already mentioned, there is a copy of the card publicising the exhibition (2002.26.481), and a floor-plan of the Council gallery (2002.26.123). Amongst the correspondence between Rie and the Council, the lists of lenders to the exhibition are particularly fascinating (2002.26.253.20.1-2). They identify early collectors of her work: Ernst Plischke lent material as did Leonard Elmhirst. In the same year Rie had a major solo exhibition at the Boymans van-beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. This is well documented in the Archive which preserves photographs of the installation and lists of work made.[96] Equally thoroughly documented but less cited in the literature is a show of Rie and Coper's work that was held in 1954 in Goteborg, Sweden, at the Rohsska konstlojdmuseet (Rohss Museum of Arts and Crafts). There is a very extensive correspondence in German including letters exchanged with Emma Jacobsson, the co-ordinator and co-exhibitor (the pots were shown with Jacobsson's knitting) and Goran Axel-Nilssen, the museum curator (2002.26.231.1.1-36). There is also a floor-plan of the exhibition gallery (2002.26.231.1.1.8). From a later era a folder of glossy photographs records the glamorous installation of the 1988 Japanese exhibition of Rie's ceramics brought about by Issey Miyake (2002.26.230.2). In the Tokyo venue (the Sogetsu Gallery) architect Tadeo Ando designed an arrangement of plinths rising just above the surface of a large pool of water.[97] Also collated from this show are letters from Miyake,[98] various ephemera, and a folder of translated press cuttings from the coverage it received in Japan (2002.26.52).
German language scholarship  |back to top|
A significant core of records in the Archive await German-speaking scholarship. There is the small collection of letters from Lucie Rie's brother Paul Gomperz and the sizeable bundles of letters to Lucie and Hans Rie dating from the 1910s to the 1930s (2002.26.502, 505-06). A smaller collection of letters to Lucie and Hans Rie from Hans Rie's parents are kept together in an envelope (2002.26.119.1-59). There is a packet of very fragile airmail letters sent to Lucie Rie by her Uncle Sandor from Israel in the period 1939-45 (Alexandre Wolf died in Haifa in 1946) (2002.26.503). In addition to this early personal correspondence a proportion of later letters in German exchanged with family and friends are scattered throughout the archive. In a bundle of miscellaneous papers there are some closely written notes on Rie’s trip to Paris in the 1920s (2002.26.254.102). Also in this category are some papers relating to Rie’s family history, for example a reference to an article by S. Gomperz (2002.26.515).[99]
Photographs of pots - different perspectives  |back to top|
There are a large number of photographs of pots in the Archive from expertly-lit shots for exhibition catalogues to informal snaps of cherished Rie specimens sent by friends and relatives. This visual resource enriches the chronologies of the formal styles of Lucie Rie’s pots compiled in the later exhibition catalogues.[100] An interesting subcategory is the photographs showing Rie’s own selection of her prized pots arranged on the Plischke shelves at Albion Mews (see Fig.52). This wall of shelving served as a physical archive of Rie’s work: a source for retrospectives and demonstrations for visitors.[101] More Information
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Fig.52 Photograph showing pots by Lucie Rie arranged on the Plischke shelves at Albion Mews, >1950
Black and white photograph
8.0 x 9.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.381.3.1
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An insight provided by the images in the Archive, which is not available in published sources, is the glimpses of Rie’s and Coper’s pots in heterogenous, domestic, and functional settings. A photograph sent to Lucie Rie by Robin Tanner shows the Tanners’ dining table beautifully set with glassware and flower arrangements and their Rie and Coper dinner service (see Fig.53). While plainly an orchestrated image, it demonstrates the objects in their actual setting, amongst other homely accoutrements, and unmistakably poised for use.[102] In common with the contemporary conventions of museum display the major exhibitions of Lucie Rie’s ceramics in the 1980s and 90s presented them stripped of extraneous context, spot-lit behind glass.[103]
Fig.53 Photograph of Robin and Heather Tanners’ table set with a Lucie Rie Pottery dinner service, 1950s
Black and white photograph
14.0 x 14.0cm
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.397.1
Galerie Besson, the London commercial gallery that was one of the principal outlets for Rie's late work, was then an archetypal white cube space with pots on plinths.[104] The photography in exhibition catalogues is likewise a series of pristine stagings of vessels alone, frozen for aesthetic contemplation. It is an education and a relief to see Rie’s pots caught in use, off-centre, washed out by bright sunlight or indistinct by domestic lightbulbs. The anecdotal testimony that Lucie Rie loved flowers and frequently used her pots for bouquets is borne out by many photographs in the Archive (see Fig.54).[105] Particularly striking are several prints of the Coper pots owned by Rie containing vivid flower arrangements (see Fig.55).
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Fig.54 Photograph of a pot by Lucie Rie containing pink roses, c.1972
Colour photograph
7.0 x 5.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.383.2
Fig.55 Photograph of a pot by Hans Coper in Albion Mews containing flowers, >1950
Colour photograph
7.0 x 7.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.383.4.2
Jeffrey Jones has written a perceptive article on Hans Coper's work which draws out suggestions of nihilism and loss in his deeply felt approach.[106] Jones argues the dessicated, blackened surfaces characteristic of Coper's ceramics are reminiscent of blasted moonscapes and other barren environments. It is a convincing reading yet the photographs of Coper's dry pots with live blooms in Lucie Rie's flat remind us of the complexity of melancholy and our actual interactions with objects. Such images capturing Rie's employment of her friend's pots might prompt a commentary on the complementary roles and different approaches of these two makers in their significant but very private friendship.
Yet another insight is provided in a photograph showing several pots by Lucie Rie in the sitting room of Peter Collingwood, the renowned craft weaver. The pots are arranged on shelves alongside a collection of books and various historical ceramics, demonstrating the eclectic and lived-in environments that studio pots become part of after purchase (see Fig.56). Letters that Rie exchanged with collectors of her work provide evidence that the potter was especially pleased to hear of people using and living actively with her work. In a letter to Goran Holmquist, the representative of Bonniers in New York who ordered Lucie Rie’s work for the department store, Rie writes of how pleased she is that he enjoys using her pots after he describes using her coffee cups at breakfast time.[107] A Michael Behrens writes to Rie to thank her for allowing him to take home two pots over Christmas in order to choose which one to buy.[108] More Information
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Fig.56 Photograph showing pots by Lucie Rie in the sitting room of the weaver Peter Collingwood, >1970
Colour photograph with notes in pen on the reverse
14.0 x 9.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.385.1.1
There are a large number of photographs of Rie herself in the Archive (see Fig.57). This is partly in the nature of a personal record such as the Archive and it is fascinating in terms of studying the two worlds that Rie inhabited before and after the war (see Fig.58). The critic Peter Dormer observed that Rie and Coper were extraordinarily photogenic for two people who claimed to be so retiring and private.[109] It is true that the fine bone structure and self-possession of the two friends translated into striking photography. Whether this signifies image management and a secret hunger for celebrity as Dormer implies is a question that could be addressed by analysis of this substantial body of portraiture.
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Fig.57 A loose page from a photograph album with three pictures of Lucie Rie, 1910s-1930s
Heavy dark brown card page pierced for binding on the lefthand side with three black and white prints glued in
16.5 x 24.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.463.1
Fig.58 A photograph of Lucie Rie outside Albion Mews, post-war, 1940s-1950s
Black and white photograph
9.0 x 7.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.394.1
Dormer's detection of hubris behind the inscrutability may be overstating the case. However, in working through the Archive Rie's oft-asserted humility is to some extent belied by the preservation of every sort of publication featuring her work: journals, catalogues, newspaper articles. Of course the potter would have received a complimentary copy of many things and such items are kept for family and friends. In the last years her carers and companions collected records rigorously with an eye on posterity. Still the fact of preservation remains and this weighty proportion of the archive hints at a pride and a self-consciousness edited out of the public persona. Or perhaps it represents a silent substantiation of personality and achievement for someone who's identity was dissolved by the rise of the Nazis in Europe.
Cultural heritage  |back to top|
Lucie Rie's Jewish heritage is rarely directly addressed in accounts of her life and career. It is pragmatically acknowledged as the reason for her emigration to England and Tony Birks notes that Rie had direct experiences of anti-Semitism in the lead up to the union of Austria with Nazi Germany in 1938.[110] There are several points in the Archive where this family identity registers. A number of books and pamphlets are preserved which set out the history and achievements of the Jewish community in Eisenstadt, the home of Rie's mother's family.[111] There is also a thorough genealogy of the Wolf family of Eisenstadt in a plastic folder which runs to 20 pages (2002.26.458). There is a Haggada, an illustrated book setting out the Hebrew Scriptures used in Passover celebrations (2002.26.410). The inscription in the front cover of this item shows that it was sent to Rie by a lady living in a kibbutz in Israel following her visit to Albion Mews. There is no way of knowing how Rie received this gesture but it demonstrates a perspective which recognised a fellow inheritance in the potter, a shared identity. The scattered destinations of correspondence that Rie maintained with friends and family after the war is a diasporic spread: America, South Africa, Australia, Israel.
The ethnically-blind approach to the Ries' emigration short-circuits a recognition of the importance of Jewish support networks in their flight from Austria and settlement in London. The Ries' British visas were sponsored by Theo Frankel, the second of four sons in a well-off Jewish Viennese family.[112] Frankel had gained the right to work and live in Britain through his willingness to start up a business in the UK – a paper mill in Scotland.[113] Employment was a major issue for Jewish refugees seeking entry to Britain in the 1930s.[114] Home Office policy was that Jewish immigrants should not be granted permits to work unless they were able to establish new businesses or were prepared to work in domestic service.[115] Furthermore from 1933 the government’s maintenance of immigration levels for German Jews was conditional on the Anglo-Jewish community’s undertaking to bear the cost of supporting any refugees without resources.[116]
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Thus we can appreciate the significance of Lucie Rie going through the advocacy of the ‘German-Jewish Aid Committee’ when applying for her work permit in 1939 (see Fig.59); and her move to establish her own business immediately. A network of Viennese émigrés provided essential support for Rie in getting established in London. Ernst Freud, the son of Sigmund Freud and an architect, had moved his family from Vienna to London in 1933 anticipating growing difficulties for those of Jewish extraction. The Freuds were old family acquaintances of Lucie Rie’s parents and Ernst Freud assisted Rie to find suitable premises for her planned pottery workshop and make the necessary conversion (including adapting the Plischke shelves).[117]
Fig.59 A letter written to Lucie Rie by Joan Stiebel under the letterhead of the ‘German-Jewish Aid Committee’, 8.2.1939
Typewritten on heavy cream paper with letterhead printed at the top
25.0 x 20.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.83
The importance of Rie's association with ex-Viennese gallery owner Fritz Lampl has already been noted. Lampl, like Theo Frankel, had gained a British visa based on entrepreneurship - starting up a glass-blowing firm in London in 1939. He provided Rie with a steady stream of work during and after the war. These friendships and their material significance are well-known but their grounding in a common experience of ethnicity and exile is rarely drawn out. Likewise the absence of analysis of this dimension of the Rie-Coper interaction is a significant lack.
Tony Birks hints that Rie found relief in the anonymity and circumspection of British attitudes toward race after the naked anti-Semitism expressed in Austria in the 1930s. This may be so but Lucie Rie came to England as part of a mass-migration of Continental Jews which coincided with an official policy of Appeasement. There is a lively debate amongst political historians regarding British immigration policy during this era and whether more could have been done, the nature of selection criteria, and possible evidence of official prejudice.[118] Certainly any comforting narrative of Britain as a sanctuary is dispelled by Hans Coper’s debilitating and frightening experience as an internee.[119] These arguments have a clear bearing on the case of Lucie Rie and many of her intimates and the flattening out of Jewishness in this history evades a major part of its substance.[120] A contention in the literature is that Britain’s welcome for refugees was predicated on assimilation, that is an erasure of distinctive identity.[121] This could be aligned with the invisibility of Jewish character in biographies of Rie. Another relevant aspect is the generally leftwing political leanings in late 20th century British craft, a position which has tended to look unkindly on Israeli actions in the Middle East. This orientation may have suppressed recognition of Rie’s connections and identifications with a Jewish diaspora for whom Israel stands generally as a vital symbol of nationhood as well as an actual haven.
Isolated but important sources  |back to top|
There are small clusters of documents which although of limited scope are of considerable interest. In the lead up to the International Conference of Craftsmen in Pottery and Textiles, held at Dartington in 1952, a correspondence running to eight letters was exchanged between Lucie Rie and Peter Cox (2002.26.685.1-8). Cox was the Principal of the Art Department at Dartington and the conference organiser and the letters mainly concern accommodation arrangements. The collection includes the general letter sent to all the delegates requesting them to bring their own towels.
We are asking all British members to bring their own towels, soap and ration books … We shall be very overcrowded at the Hall during the conference, but we will do our utmost to make everyone well and comfortable. We are probably going to arrange some dormitory accommodation at a reduced charge … Are you willing to share a room with any other member whom you know to be coming, in case there are not enough single rooms to go round?
Also of interest are papers relating to several commissions completed by Rie for the Design Research Unit, a consortium of modernist designers and architects headed by Misha Black. Rie produced several sets of ceramic ashtrays to complete ultra-modern corporate environments that the DRU had a hand in co-ordinating. The first of these was the Time-Life building in central London in 1953 – a high-profile post-war development built around British-sourced design.[122] The Archive contains correspondence, invoice copies, and planning drawings for these collaborations (see Fig.60).[123] More Information
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Fig.60 Planning drawing for ceramic ashtrays made by Lucie Rie for the Design Research Unit, 26.10.1962
Tracing paper with sketch and notes in pen
28.0 x 22.0cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.254.13
Lacunae
Hans Coper  |back to top|
It is striking how little material there is in the Archive concerning Hans Coper. There are a few photographs, one handwritten letter addressed to Rie (published in Birks biography), and a few carbon copies of typewritten replies to clients composed when Rie was away from the Pottery. A gift from Jane Coper means that a small complementary collection of photographs showing Coper and Rie now resides separately at the CSC (2005.19.1-9).
Sources of Inspiration  |back to top|
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There are no records that might be construed as artistic source material for Rie. Nothing gives concrete shape to the elusive link with Uncle Sandor’s antiquities collection and references to stone-age and Classical art. One journal which contains no reference to Rie’s own work is preserved in the Archive – Kulturelle monatsschrift, Vol.8 August 1958 (Zurich). It is an issue dedicated to Picasso and the bull motif and features a clay bull by the artist on the cover (2002.26.268). The photographs of Rie and her cousins on their Italienreise of 1922 posed amongst Classical monuments have a suggestive, poetic force (see Fig.61).
Fig.61 ‘Paestum 25 April’: photograph of Lucie Rie and her cousins on holiday in Italy, 25.4.1922
Black and white photograph, mounted in an album
10.5 x 8.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.328.23
Teaching  |back to top|
Papers relating to Lucie Rie's decade of part-time teaching at Camberwell School of Art are notable for their scarcity. One brown envelope contains a handful of lecture notes, most of which appear to be Rie's own from her studies in Vienna, though some suggest guidelines for leading a class (2002.26.676). There is a Camberwell prospectus of 1958-59 with Miss Lucie Rie listed on the staff (2005.40.20).
Conclusion: the rewards of primary research  |back to top|
The biography of Lucie Rie by Tony Birks is a comprehensive narrative weaving persional detail together with the major events and relationships of the potter's life. Later exhibition catalogues and friend Cyril Frankel's account have provided a chronology of work and enlivened the portrait with personal recollections and anecdotes. In the absence of self-revelation in the Lucie Rie Archive has investigation of Rie's vocation reached an impasse? There is no definitive kernel of reasoning, purpose, and motivation to be unlocked in these 12 boxes. Yet there are alternative stories, parallel interpretations, and subplots that might be developed.
Jeffrey Jones has pointed out that reticence on the part of those who create is an action and a position as much as a worded manifesto.[124] Silence is a modality with a weight and shape of its own which will bear analysis. His essay takes Hans Coper and Lucie Rie as exemplars of craftspeople whose laconic practice has so far check-mated contextualised studies of their work. Tanya Harrod has reflected on the general phenomenon that women working innovatively in the post-war crafts were not motivated to translate or broadcast their work through wordy explanations in the same way as many men were at the time.[125] These observations together challenge us - first that there is work to be done to understand the shape and meaning of Rie's work. And second, that this very restraint may be a positive diagnostic quality rather than a lack.
The Lucie Rie Archive is a physical monument to and record of a life. It offers a more archaeological than literary source which is open to the sifting of layers and the poetics of reconstruction. This eclectic resource exists at the intersection of many histories and debates - Bernard Leach, the Wiener Werkstatte, Modernist taste, ceramic technique, the Council of Industrial Design, The Tanners, Jewish Diaspora, architectural practice, and the sale rooms. All these subjects pertain to appreciating Rie's endeavour and the Archive provides surprising insights into most of them. The scale and thoroughness of the documentation of Rie's pottery business holds out the possibility of a quantitative archival survey.
The correlated economic and social analyses used fruitfully for business records of the renaissance and early modern period represents a possibly productive route into this material. The amateur, domesticated photography of the pots themselves provides a more complicated in vivo vision than gallery presentations. Finally, the multiple voices and visions of Rie compressed into fourteen acid-free cardboard boxes thicken and contradict unified characterisations (See Fig.62). For all these reasons this resource demands and rewards further study. More Information
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Fig.62 Photograph of Lucie Rie potting at Albion Mews in her later years, 1980s
Black and white photograph
14.0 x 21.5cm(w)
Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
2002.26.13
Footnotes:
1. Lucie Rie/Hans Coper: masterworks by two British potters, November 1994 – May 1995. The Archive contains the press pack for the exhibition (2002.26.369) and a set of Polaroid photographs of the show (2002.26.384.5.1-13).   |back to essay|
2. Rie and her husband left Austria late in 1938 with papers to enter Britain; Coper fled Germany in 1939 by less official routes and upon reaching Britain was interned during the early years of the war (T. Birks Hans Coper [1991; 1st ed. 1983]).   |back to essay|
3. These criticisms are related by George Wingfield-Digby in his introduction to the catalogue for the Arts Council retrospective of Rie’s work in 1967, Lucie Rie: a retrospective exhibition of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain 1926-1967.   |back to essay|
4. Lucie Rie and Hans Coper worked jointly at Albion Mews from 1947 to 1958 when Coper was invited to take a studio at a newly established arts centre – the Digswell Arts Trust. He worked there for five years before coming back to London. In 1967 Hans and Jane Coper moved to Frome in Somerset. After 1959 Coper did not make domestic pots but he did complete several functional architectural commissions (T. Birks Hans Coper [1991; 1st ed. 1983]). Tableware continued to be a significant part of Rie’s production well into the 1960s.   |back to essay|
5. Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987); Hans Coper (1991; 1st ed. 1983).   |back to essay|
6. Exhibition catalogues and monographs: Arts Council Lucie Rie: a retrospective exhibition of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain 1926-1967 (1967); J. Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981); Crafts Council Lucie Rie (1992); M. Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel (1997); C. Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000); E. Cooper (ed.) Lucie Rie (2002). Some journal articles: E. Cooper ‘Lucie Rie – Potter’, Ceramic Review (1986, no.100, Jul/Aug); W. Ismay ‘Lucie Rie at 85’, Ceramic Review (1988, no.110, Mar/Apr); ‘Dame Lucie Rie 1902-1995’, Crafts (1995, no.135, Jul/Aug); ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review, (1995, no.154, Jul/Aug); E. De Waal ‘Modern things’, Ceramic Review (2002, no.194, Mar/Apr).   |back to essay|
7. Max Mayer had been Lucie Rie’s doctor; on his retirement in 1985 he began pottery lessons with her and undertook much of the heavy work in the Pottery (T.Birks Lucie Rie [1994; 1st ed. 1987] p.75).   |back to essay|
8. A cross-section of the CSC’s collection was digitised in a three-year JISC-funded project completed in 2004 which made 4000 objects accessible via the internet. See under the Digitisation heading on the CSC website www.csc.ucreative.ac.uk .   |back to essay|
9. For photographs of family and friends see especially 2002.26.325-32, 376, 455, 463-64, 517, and 2005.40.2. There is a corresponding collection of glass and celluloid negatives for most of these photographs (2002.26.316-320).   |back to essay|
10. See especially album ‘1900-1919’ (2002.26.331).   |back to essay|
11. See T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.13.   |back to essay|
12. See T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.13; their older brother Teddy (b. 1897) was already a lieutenant in the Austrian army.   |back to essay|
13. 2002.26.223.1-6, 507-11, and 2005.40.9.   |back to essay|
14. See T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.26.   |back to essay|
15. In the Archive see album 2002.26.333. For a published source see T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.28-29.   |back to essay|
16. Plischke worked in the office of Peter Behrens in Vienna (T.Birks Lucie Rie [1994; 1st ed. 1987] p.28).   |back to essay|
17. See the discussion of Plischke and Rie’s friendship in J.Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981) p.18; also see T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.28-29.   |back to essay|
18. Ernst Freud, the architect son of Sigmund Freud, adapted the units to the space at Albion Mews. The Plischke shelves can now be seen on display in Vienna at the Imperial Furniture Museum.   |back to essay|
19. See 2002.26.426.1 for a later letter written in English which comments on a show Rie had in Rotterdam in 1967 and contains Plischke’s frank opinions and gossip on the Viennese gallery scene of the 1960s. There is also a letter in German (2002.26.313) from Plischke which bears a note describing it as regarding a disagreement over the furniture.   |back to essay|
20. See also a roll of negatives (2002.26.324.16).   |back to essay|
21. For published sources see T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.22, 29-30; and C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) p.69, 74.   |back to essay|
22. 2002.26.666, 669, 674 – all small, soft-cover notebooks in brown, faded blue, and black respectively.   |back to essay|
23. J.Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981) p.16.   |back to essay|
24. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.30.   |back to essay|
25. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.33.   |back to essay|
26. C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) p.69.   |back to essay|
27. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.37.   |back to essay|
28. ‘What I need to know is this: is there any chance to get visas for England enabling them to wait here for the american Visas? Are there any other documents required? Is it necessary to establish a banking guarantee for them and if [so] for what amount? Or is it sufficient if I undertake to guarantee for them during their stay in England and for all expenses connected with their emigration to the U.S.A.? If they get their english visa is there a chance to find a hospitality for them in England? Otherwise it might be very expensive to support them for the whole time of their stay in England!’   |back to essay|
29. Birks notes that Hans Rie worked hard on behalf of fellow refugees while in England, writing letters and providing food and shelter from the Ries’ quarters ([1999] p.33). See also 2002.6.234.101, and 2002.26.504.   |back to essay|
30. See T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.33; Bimini is the title of a poem, there is a copy in the Archive (2002.26.471). In London Lampl’s Bimini glass manufactory successfully catered to a British market starved of elegant and decorative goods during the war years. There is a report in the Archive on the financial affairs of Bimini (2002.26.126), and another concerning Orplid, a subsequent venture launched by Lampl (2002.26.353).   |back to essay|
31. C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) p.72.   |back to essay|
32. See 2002.26.224-25, 231-32, 235, 238, 245, 247, 338, 341, 346, 348, 351, 354, 567-584, 678-79.   |back to essay|
33. G. Carey ‘Understated or overrated?’ (2000) Crafts, no.165, Jul/Aug, pp.44-47; also see exchange of letters between Carey and Paul Dauer in Crafts no. 169, Mar/Apr 2001. An earlier but more brief version of Carey’s critique of Rie appears in 1992 in ‘Off-centre, a column of dissent: Lucie Rie – a negative view’ Ceramic Review V.136, Jul/Aug, p.19; varied responses appear on the letters page of the following issue, V. 137, Sep/Oct, pp.4-5.   |back to essay|
34. From Lucie Rie’s ‘Credo’, a statement given to Fritz Lampl and written out by him c.1950, quoted in C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) p.67.   |back to essay|
35. For a perceptive discussion of Rie’s motivations and justifications for her work see J. Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981), pp.11-21 and D. Queensberry in the same volume pp. 27-29, also T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.77.   |back to essay|
36. ‘Comment: true character of the maker’ Ceramics Monthly (1995) V.43, no.6, Jun-Aug, p.120.   |back to essay|
37. ‘Dame Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Crafts (1995) No.135, Jul/Aug, p.44.   |back to essay|
38. See exhibition catalogue Lucie Rie [1988] Galerie Besson.   |back to essay|
39. In J. Houston (Ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1982) Crafts Council, London, p.31.   |back to essay|
40. M. Kinley in ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review (1995) V.154, pp.15-16.   |back to essay|
41.‘Last words’ Crafts (1995) V.135, p.45.   |back to essay|
42. ‘Last words’ Crafts (1995) No.135, p.46; A. Powers ‘Second Spring’ Crafts (1995) No.136, Sep/Oct, pp.40-43; A.Greg(ed.) Primavera: pioneering craft and design 1945-95 (1995).   |back to essay|
43. The gallery operated in Sloane Street until 1971 and Rothschild then ran it in Cambridge until 1980. Primavera has changed hands twice since then but it still retails studio crafts in Cambridge.   |back to essay|
44. T.HarrodThe crafts in Britain in the 20th century (1999), Chapter 8.   |back to essay|
45. Incorporated in the printed letterhead of ‘The Craftworkers’ Association’ is the note ‘agents for Bimini’ suggesting the importance of Rie’s connections with Fritz Lampl for the early establishment of her business.   |back to essay|
46. This was under the auspices of Muriel Rose. Previously the owner of The Little Gallery, Rose organised a wartime exhibition of British craft for the British Council which toured North America 1942-45. After the war she became Industrial Design and Craft Officer at the Council.   |back to essay|
47. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.25.   |back to essay|
48. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.9.   |back to essay|
49. Contemporary architect and critic Adolf Loos published tracts attacking non-functional ornament which he associates with decadence.   |back to essay|
50. J. Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981), pp.11-21.   |back to essay|
51. Edmund de Waal has considered the context of the applied arts scene in 1920s Vienna and how Rie stood in relation to her contemporary craftspeople (‘Modern things’ Ceramic Review[2002] No.194, Mar/Apr, pp.18-21).   |back to essay|
52. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.20.   |back to essay|
53. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.13-15.   |back to essay|
54. For pamphlets on this post-war incarnation see 2002.26.261 Landesmuseums illustrierte: Eisenstadt (1980), 2002.26.372 Gedenkbuch der untergegangene Judengemeinden des Burgenlandes (by Hugo Gold with pictures of the Wolf Museum), 2002.26.427 Wolf House Museum Newspaper, and 2002.26.586 Burgenlandisches Landesmuseum Eisenstadt.   |back to essay|
55. During these years Lucie Gomperz was studying ceramics at the Kunstgewerbeschule.   |back to essay|
56. Cyril Frankel comments that the party also visited major art collections in Florence and other cities on their tour (Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection [2000] p. 68).   |back to essay|
57. Art History as an academic discipline was formulated in 19th century Germany taking Classical Greek art as its ideal and adopting the Italian High Renaissance as the inheritor of this vision; other styles and movements in art were perceived relative to this normative Classical tradition. For the Wolfs and Gomperzs brought up to be interested in and knowledgeable about art in this part of Europe one can propose a sense of intellectual confidence and ownership over the concept of the History of Art itself.   |back to essay|
58. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) pp.43-44.   |back to essay|
59. The collector and commentator on studio potter W.A. Ismay recalled that on ‘a happy occasion’ Rie visited him in Yorkshire, see ‘Dame Lucie Rie 1902-1995’, Crafts (1995) no.135, Jul/Aug, p.15.   |back to essay|
60. At the exhibition centre there Rie and Coper saw recently excavated Neolithic and Bronze Age pots with linear incised decoration probably scratched into the surface using bird bones found with the sherds (J.Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work [1981] p.20). Rie recalled this as one inspiration for her signature sgraffito decoration.   |back to essay|
61. G. Wingfield-Digby in Lucie Rie: a retrospective exhibition of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain 1926-1967 (1967); A.Britton ‘Clay and asphalt: the metropolitan world of Rie and Coper’ Ceramic Review Vol. 163 (1997) pp.21-24; E.de Waal in M.Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel (1997) pp.19-25   |back to essay|
62. Sebastian’s Blackie’s recollection of Albion Mews is reflected in many of the thank-you letters in the archive: ‘I still recall the quiet intensity of her place which seemed like an oasis; it lingered long after the event, and sustains me in a way that still seems mysterious and wonderful’ (‘Comment’ Ceramics Monthly [1995] V.43, no.6, Jun/Jul/Aug, p.120).   |back to essay|
63. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.77; C. Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) pp.73-74; W.A. Ismay ‘Collecting Lucie’ in ‘Dame Lucie Rie 1902-1995’, Crafts (1995) no.135, Jul/Aug, p. 15; J. Leach in J.Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981) p.30.   |back to essay|
64. B. Appleby ‘Visiting Lucie’ in ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review (1995) no.154, Jul/Aug, p.9.   |back to essay|
65. The Viennese café-konditorei is a pastry shop that serves coffee and home-made cakes in elegant surroundings; it is traditionally a more female space than the kaffeehaus where newspapers were read and letters written.   |back to essay|
66. Robin Tanner worked all his life as a teacher and then a schools inspector but he and his wife Heather were strongly committed to the crafts and an ethical lifestyle. They collected and lived with studio crafts in many media and were advocates for the handmade. The Tanners played a crucial role in the conception and fruition of the Crafts Study Centre and their collection was an extremely valuable gift to the CSC’s holdings, see B. Roscoe ‘A fine example’ Ceramic Review (2004) No.210, Nov/Dec, pp.18-19.   |back to essay|
67. This jug was owned by the Tanners and frequently used to hold flower arrangements; the exuberant bouquet of daffodils and other domestic blooms certainly came from their garden.   |back to essay|
68. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.28.   |back to essay|
69. See alphabetical letter file 1956-64, 2002.26.684.   |back to essay|
70. A. Britton ‘Clay and asphalt: the metropolitan world of Rie and Coper’ Ceramic Review No.163 (1997), pp.21-24; T.Birks ‘Lucie Rie and her work with Hans Coper’ in M.Coatts(ed.) Pioneers of modern craft (1997), p.96; also Monika Kinley’s account in E.Cooper ‘Lucie Rie’ Ceramic Review (1992) No.134, Mar/Apr, p.26.   |back to essay|
71. Also in this letter Rie describes the pressure she is under to meet button orders, never mind pursuing a market for ceramic vessels. Monika Kinley worked for Lucie Rie pressing buttons in 1945-46 and her recollections cast light on the potter’s situation at the time, see ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review (1995) no.154, Jul/Aug, pp.15-16.   |back to essay|
72. Rie taught at Camberwell as a visiting tutor during the 1960s (T.Birks Lucie Rie [1994; 1st ed. 1987] p.51).   |back to essay|
73. The divorce from her husband in this decade was also a separation from the familiar, though actively brought about by Rie.   |back to essay|
74. T.Birks ‘Lucie Rie and her work with Hans Coper’ in M.Coatts(ed.) Pioneers of modern craft (1997), p.95.   |back to essay|
75. The Contemporary Ceramics Department at Bonhams was founded by Cyril Frankel, a close friend of Rie’s who was previously a film director. Rie’s and Coper’s pots were prominent in the lots offered and the regular sales were a catalyst in raising the value for the work of these two potters.   |back to essay|
76. British Vogue Export Book (1952) No.6, p.46 2002.26.276; also Shopping Magazine (1952) Vol.10 no.4, Jul/Aug, pp.32-35 2002.26.298.   |back to essay|
77. The most famous example is the Leach Pottery in St Ives which struggled to balance the books until David Leach overhauled the standardware according to technical and business practices he learned through a commercial pottery training in Stoke-on-Trent (T.Harrod The crafts in Britain in the 20th century [1999] p.38). Michael Cardew’s Wenford Bridge Pottery in Cornwall was run on an ideal rather than a budget as his autobiography describes (A pioneer potter: an autobiography [1988]).   |back to essay|
78. Lucie Rie was a part-time tutor at Camberwell School of Art for a decade in the 1960s. She took on this commitment reluctantly in the face of Bernard Leach’s energetic persuasion and was always ambiguous about it. However the testimony of several former students who became potters asserts that she was an unusual and inspirational teacher, see ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review, (1995) no.154, Jul/Aug.   |back to essay|
79. After the publication of Tony Birks’ biography of Rie it is not unusual for clients to ask for a pot like the illustration on page such and such.   |back to essay|
80. ‘Lucie Rie’s notebooks’ Ceramic Review (1994) No.150, Nov/Dec, pp.28-37.   |back to essay|
81. M.Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie (1992).   |back to essay|
82. According to Wood the majority of Rie’s glazes were derived from two classic recipes – one from Leach’s A potter’s book (1940) and the other from C.W. Parmalee’s Ceramic glazes (1948). Rie’s favoured additives to give colour and opacity to her glazes were manganese dioxide, sodium uranate, tin oxide, and zinc oxide. She sometimes coloured the clay bodies themselves with oxides of manganese, copper, and cobalt (N.Wood in M.Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie [1992]).   |back to essay|
83. See J.Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981) p.12.   |back to essay|
84. 2002.26.162-65, 169-71, 204-08, 351, 354.   |back to essay|
85. See Tanya Harrod’s discussion in The crafts in Britain in the 20th century (1999) p.342-52.   |back to essay|
86. These initiatives were organised by Muriel Rose, Officer for Craft and Industrial Design at the British Council and a longtime friend of Rie’s.   |back to essay|
87. See especially 2002.26.163.2-7 for correspondence regarding Rie’s contribution to the Land Travelling Exhibition.   |back to essay|
88. For an illustration of Rie’s ceramics in situ at the Festival see T.Harrod The Crafts in Britain in the 20th century (1999) p.349, Fig.376.   |back to essay|
89. Rie replies that pots can be ordered directly or found at Georg Jensen or Bonniers in New York (2002.26.188.2).   |back to essay|
90. The Archive preserves an array of sizeable glass-plate negatives for one of the Berkeley shows, now mounted on wooden blocks (2002.26.655-62).   |back to essay|
91. Cyril Frankel notes that this was where the Sainsburys first came across Rie’s work Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) pp.73-74   |back to essay|
92. William Ohly died prematurely in 1955 but his brother Ernst continued to run the gallery in the same spirit.   |back to essay|
93. This combination of British applied arts with ‘ethnic’ cloths was also used to stylish effect at Primavera and is a presentation that merits more examination. For the importance and the atmosphere of Primavera see A. Powers ‘Second Spring’ Crafts (1995), No.136, Sep/Oct, pp.40-43 and A.Greg(ed.) Primavera: pioneering craft and design 1945-95 (1995).   |back to essay|
94. Other exhibitions of 1951 at the Berkeley Galleries included Art of Ancient Nigeria and Art of the American Indians from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.   |back to essay|
95. See M.Coatts(ed.) Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel (1997) p.19-20.   |back to essay|
96. 2002.26.120.1-5, 352.   |back to essay|
97. For a published image see T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.79. The show also toured to the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka.   |back to essay|
98. 2002.26.230.2-9.   |back to essay|
99. Likewise of interest is a handwritten booklet Gedanken zum weiterdanken(?) (thoughts and further thanks/debts/thoughts?) (2002.26.373) which bears a note describing it as having been kept with Lucie Rie’s ‘credo’, see note 38.   |back to essay|
100. See especially J. Houston (ed.) Lucie Rie: a survey of her life and work (1981) and M.Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie (1992).   |back to essay|
101. Edmund de Waal writes of the concentrated use of space in Rie’s living environment – suggesting it was both stripped of the extraneous and charged with significance (M.Coatts (ed.) Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel [1997] p.19).   |back to essay|
102. See Barley Roscoe’s description of the Tanners’ living room in ‘Lucie Rie 1902-1995’ Ceramic Review, (1995) no.154, Jul/Aug, p. 47.   |back to essay|
103. Cyril Frankel, who had a crucial hand in several later major exhibitions of Rie’s work (the Met show in NY, and a posthumous retrospective at the MAK in Vienna), notes that he was determined to achieve a gravity appropriate to Fine Art in these presentations (Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection [2000] pp.84-85).   |back to essay|
104. Proprietor Anita Besson worked for many years at Fischer Fine Art, a prestigious dealership where she pioneered displays of applied arts. See the photography in Lucie Rie (1988) Galerie Besson, and the discussion of Besson’s approach in A. Orient ‘In Arcadia’ (1998) Ceramic Review V.173, Sep/Oct, pp.28-29.   |back to essay|
105. See C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000) p.67; M.Coatts Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel (1997) p.11.   |back to essay|
106. See online journal article at http://www.uwic.ac.uk/ICRC/issue005/keepingquiet.htm J.Jones ‘Keeping quiet and finding a voice: ceramics and the art of silence’ (2004) Interpreting Ceramics Issue 5.   |back to essay|
107. This draft is dated November 1963, 2002.26.354.2. Rie also remarks in her missive on the success and beauty of the Shoji Hamada show in London.   |back to essay|
108. The letter is dated January 1979, 2002.26.343.2.   |back to essay|
109. ‘Degrees of influence’ in M.Coatts(ed.) Lucie Rie and Hans Coper: potters in parallel (1997) pp.34-35.   |back to essay|
110. T.Birks Lucie Rie (1994; 1st ed. 1987) p.29-32.   |back to essay|
111. 2002.26.468: Beitrage zur geschichte der Judischen Gemeinde Eisenstadt (1908); 2002.26.20 Eisenstadter reminiszenzen; 2002.26.374 Urkunden zur geschichte der Juden in Eisenstadt (1928).   |back to essay|
112. See notes in the archive on the Frankel brothers 2002.26.254.60.1-6.   |back to essay|
113. Cyril Frankel relates that it was through Theo Frankel that Rie gained war work at a lens-making firm after her newly-established pottery was closed down as non-essential work (Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection [2000], p.71).   |back to essay|
114. Tanya Harrod does survey the circumstances of a number of war exiles in the art and design community, demonstrating the difficulty and frustrations of their position (The crafts in Britain in the 20th century [1999] pp.203-05).   |back to essay|
115. L.London Whitehall and the Jews 1933-1948: British immigration policy, Jewish refugees and the Holocaust (2001).   |back to essay|
116. See London (2001). This had to be revised in 1939 when the community could no longer support this burden.   |back to essay|
117. See C.Frankel Modern pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, and their contemporaries; the Lisa Sainsbury Collection (2000), p.71. Later plans for alterations to the flat in the 1950s were also drawn up for Rie by Freud – 2002.26.461.3.1-2, a letter and a floor-plan drawn to scale.   |back to essay|
118. A.J.Sherman Island refuge (1973) and Rubenstein The myth of rescue (1997) conclude that the British government was generous with asylum while M. Gilbert Auchswitz and the Allies (1991), T.Kushner The Holocaust and the liberal imagination (1994), and L.London (2001) argue that immigration policy was restrictive, and not primarily humanitarian.   |back to essay|
119. T.Birks Hans Coper (1991; 1st ed. 1983) but there are many general studies – D.Cesarani & T.Kushner The internment of Aliens in 20th century Britain (1993).   |back to essay|
120. Studies which address relevant exile experiences and circumstances are W.Mosse (ed.) Second chance: two centuries of German-speaking Jews in the United Kingdom (1988), M. Berghahn Continental Britons (1984), and G. Hirschfeld Exile in Great Britain (1984).   |back to essay|
121. See especially T.Kushner (1994); this has resonances with the language currently being applied to issues of immigration and multicultural society in the aftermath of the war on Iraq and the July 7th bombings in London.   |back to essay|
122. A.Stapleton ‘A new vernacular: the Time and Life Building, London’ (1997) Journal of the Decorative Arts Society, No.21, pp.130-37; T.Harrod The crafts in Britain in the 20th century (1999) pp.352-54, Fig.380.   |back to essay|
123. 2002.26.231.7.1-12 (1954-55), 2002.26.336 (c.1960).   |back to essay|
124. See online journal article at http://www.uwic.ac.uk/ICRC/issue005/keepingquiet.htm J.Jones ‘Keeping quiet and finding a voice: ceramics and the art of silence’ (2004) Interpreting Ceramics Issue 5.   |back to essay|
125. The crafts in Britain in the 20th century [1999] p.118.   |back to essay|

 

 

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