Frank Lloyd Gallery - Modern and Contemporary Ceramic Art   current exhibit archive news artists publications about contact home
Since the 1970’s, Alison Britton (b. 1948) has been a potter, dedicating herself to making, studying, and understanding pots. Now a leading British ceramist whose gestural, sculptural pots have garnered an international reputation, Britton is also well known for her contributions as a curator and writer.Instead of taking the high road as a painter or sculptor, she has stuck to pots; negotiating the difficult ground between art and craft, she has become a spokeswoman for her generation and a major contributor to a new period in English craft. Along with ceramists like Elizabeth Fritsch, Carol McNicoll, Jacqui Poncelet, Andrew Lord and Richard Slee, she has defined a new context for the ceramic vessel that defies those that came before.

Britton takes her work extremely seriously, a fact that is evident in the authoritative confidence her pots exude.These are works that have been long considered and deliberately constructed by a dedicated maker. Despite their centered, unambiguous presence, Britton’s pots are difficult to classify.They stubbornly resist being placed within the classical ceramic tradition, or within any tradition except their own.They are built of slabs of clay, rather than thrown on a wheel. Their planes are angular, but not edge-like, as each blends softly into the next.Their surfaces do not suggest a glazed vessel, but rather an expressively painted canvas.The marks that dance across them refer more to modernist painting than to the decorative patterns that are more readily associated with craft.

Even so, a Britton pot retains its ties to craft through Britton’s insistent focus on the functional domestic object as a jumping off point.Moving through a Britton exhibition, one finds a room full of bowls, jars, and jugs.These objects hover between traditional disciplines in a unique hybrid space that Britton has carved out for them.Perhaps they are best described in the words of Quentin Blake, who says, “the work may begin as a jug, but it becomes a free-standing story, a poem, a situation.”Put in the position of reader, the viewer comes back again and again, each time finding a new word, line, or verse to fall in love with.


1966-67     Leeds College of Art
1967-70     Central School of Art and Design
1970-73     Royal College of Art, London.  MA, RCA Ceramics

Museum Collections

Aberdeen Museum and Art Gallery
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Canada
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Australian National Gallery, Canberra
Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
British Council Collection
Contemporary Art Society
Crafts Council, London
Hove Museum and Art Gallery
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburg
Shigaraki Ceramic Sculpture Park, Japan
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
UCW Collection, Aberystwyth
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart
York City Art Gallery

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2000     Barrett Marsden Gallery, London
1998     Barrett Marsden Gallery, London
1996      Alison Britton, Craft Victoria, Melbourne Australia, and tour
1995     Form and Function, Marianne Heller Gallery, Sandhausen, Germany
1990     Contemporary Applied Arts, London
            Alison Britton, A Retrospective, Two year tour organized by Aberystwyth Arts             Center, traveling to Newport Museum, Aberdeen Museum, Carlisle Museum, Stoke             on Trent, Cardiff Museum, York Museum, and Boijmans van Beuningen Museum,             Rotterdam
1988     Craft Centre Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1987     Contemporary Applied Arts, London
1985     Miharudo Gallery, Tokyo
1979     The Work of Alison Britton, Crafts Council, London