Mystery Pot 37 Maker Richard Batterham
In England, where Richard Batterham was born in 1936, he is considered the leading living maker of domestic stoneware. It’s a reputation that has been made by a life spent diligently working with discipline and talent to perfect his functional forms and lovely muted glazes.
Interested in craft and design from a young age, Richard studied at the Bryanston School. He was taught pottery by Donald Potter who had worked with Eric Gill and Michael Cardew. After his National Service, he apprenticed with Bernard Leach at St. Ives for two years. He married Dinah Dunn in 1959, and they set up housekeeping in Durweston, Dorset. They were both working in ceramics, firing in a double-chamber climbing kiln. Dinah eventually gave up ceramics to care for their large family.
In 1966 they built the pottery near their property that Richard still works in today. A four-chambered oil and wood-fired kiln was there from the beginning; later a small salt kiln was added. Richard works alone and fires five times a year.
A reluctant and reclusive legend, Richard Batterham has never sought the spotlight of fame. Fame has found him by the enduring power of his simple, elegant pottery; made to be used and loved by real people.
A documentary about Richard’s life, ‘Richard Batterham: Master Potter’ has recently been released. Produced by the Joanna Bird Foundation, filmed by Alex Wright Films, it features commentary by Sir David Attenborough and Nigel Slater. When asked about all the fuss, Richard’s reply was, “You just get into the right frame of mind and get on with it.”