The history of ceramic art is ingrained in the history of mankind. Clay is one of the very first materials ‘invented’ by man. An essential part of our lives it has been moulded, thrown, glazed, decorated and fired for over 30,000 years in order to preserve and transport food and water. And it was on the surface of these early jugs, vases, dishes, plates, beakers and amphorae that man placed some of his first decorative markings. In more recent times clay has been used not just by artisans and potters, but also by artists, designers and architects. The Pot Book is the first publication to document the extraordinary range and variety of ceramic vessels of all periods, from a delicate bowl made by an unnamed artisan in China in the third millennium bc, or a jug made in eighteenth-century Dresden, to a plate made by Picasso in 1952, a ‘spade form’ made by Hans Coper or the vases of Grayson Perry today. Each entry is sequenced in alphabetical order by the name of the artist/potter, the school, or style, creating a grand tour through the very finest examples of the artform.
Edmund de Waal apprenticed as a potter in Canterbury, before studying in Japan and Cambridge. Today his porcelain is in thirty international museum collections: most recently he has created major installations for the V&A and Tate Britain. He is working on exhibitions for museums in the UK and America and on commissions for private clients. Edmund has also written widely on art and ceramics. In June 2010 his The Hare with Amber Eyes was published by Chatto and Windus, winning the Costa Biography Award and New Writer of the Year at the Galaxy Book Awards. Edmund has also written widely on art and ceramics and his titles include 20th Century Ceramics, Timeless Beauty: Traditional Japanese Art from the Jeffrey Montgomery Collection, Bernard Leach and New Ceramic Design.
"Sumptuous... A gorgeous tribute to the history of ceramics. If you think you don’t care about pots, this book will change your mind."—The Times Saturday
"A wonderful new book... By the presiding genius of modern studio ceramics, Edmund de Waal... Informative"—Royal Academy magazine
"Handsomely illustrated... This book is like an installation where the arrangement of illustrations makes the reader look with surprised attentiveness."—V&A Magazine
"This is a distinctly personal, even quirky selection - which is part of its appeal."—Bloomberg News
"You’ll find a striped Sottsass vase from the 1980s facing a Song fluted bowl... Why? The happy accident of the alphabet. From The Art Book onwards, Phaidon has been the jim-dandy of juxtaposition. Across history, one sees the clay being pulled in two directions – towards the pure minimal clarity of a Lucy Rie bowl [...] or towards ever more elaboration... Cross-references help one keep in touch with cousins."—World of Interiors