Bernard Leach (1887-1979) was born in Hong Kong, and trained at the Slade School and London School of Art, a rigorously two-dimensional education before he turned his attention to the craft and art of pottery, which he discovered in Japan. He established a pottery in St Ives in 1920, where he was based for the rest of his life, his work in the studio interspersed with international lecture tours, and prolific writing activity, most notably of the highly influential ‘A Potter’s Book’ (1940). Leach’s principal skill was perhaps as a decorator, and his graphic abilities were explored richly in drawings, etching and tile work as well. There was a particular freedom about some of his late pots, his porcelain as well as stoneware, and he achieved his goal of an integrated life in which pottery could still be a rich expression of the human spirit, even in the mechanised 20th century. His outlook was essentially romantic, but he also had an evangelistic wish to improve peoples' quality of life through the medium of clay.

David Whiting