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Title: A passion for pots : the W.A. Ismay Collection and the British Studio Pottery Movement, 1955-2001
Author: Walsh, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 1905
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the role and impact of collectors and collections of post-war British studio pottery, focusing on the prolific collector W.A. Ismay M.B.E. (1910-2001). Published research about the role collectors held in the British studio pottery movement is sparse and of varying quality, ranging from amateur writing to strong critical studies. Ismay was active at the centre of the studio pottery world for more than 40 years and his first-hand experience offers new information that contributes to this gap in knowledge. Whilst creating his collection of pots, Ismay also assembled a vast archive of supporting documentation, which, along with testimony of those that knew Ismay, was the primary source for this research. Ismay's archive is unique in its coverage, containing the correspondence he exchanged with a wide range of contacts (from potters, to collectors, to curators); research for his own writing on the subject and documentation on all aspects of his purchases (receipts, price lists, photographs of exhibitions, potters' workshops and more). The archive provides new insights into Ismay's early life, allowing understanding of how crucial this period was in enabling him to develop the knowledge and transferrable skills necessary to complete his rapid rise to prominence as a collector of British studio pottery. Ismay's archive reveals how his significant early acquisitions helped to raise his profile, cementing his position and facilitating important, longlasting and mutually beneficial relationships. He offers a well-documented example of the valuable contribution collectors made to the British studio pottery movement, financially and emotionally. Ismay's hard-fought battle to both keep his collection intact and secure its legacy provides insight into some of the issues public museums and galleries face when dealing with large bequests during times of economic, cultural and political uncertainty. The significance of this research lies in the attention it draws to a rich and unstudied archive and collection that offer a wealth of opportunities for uncovering new knowledge about the British studio pottery movement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available