Ian Godfrey

Ian Godfrey (1942-1992) was a highly imaginative and virtuoso potter who played a leading role in the sculptural shifts in British ceramics in the 1960s and 70s. He trained at the innovative Camberwell College of Arts, where Godfrey developed as a hand-builder, subsequently combining this with throwing to create highly original pots. They were richly populated by temples, birds and beasts, tableaux for his inventive flights of imagination, and usually carved out with a penknife when the clay was leather-hard. His source material was eclectic, admiring as he was of art and ritual from a range of ancient civilisations, and able to convey something of their mysteries in his own sculptural and playful pieces.

Godfrey lived and worked in London for most of his life, his ceramic work interspersed with teaching, most notably at Camberwell. After winning the prestigious Gold Medal in ceramics at Faenza in 1975, he went to live in Denmark for a spell, immersing himself in its ancient history and archaeology. On returning to Britain his later work was generally simpler and more concentrated in form, less complex than many of his earlier shapes, but still ritualistic in feeling, and full of both humour and pathos.

David Whiting