Ruskin Antiques, Stow on the Wold, 1995
Cardew was the first apprentice at Bernard Leach’s St.Ives pottery, joining in 1923 and worked there until 1926. He left to restart the defunct Winchcombe Pottery in Gloucestershire, working in a style which combined the tradition of English slipware with elements of oriental influence and excelled in making honest and useable pieces.
His simple life and philosophy attracted the interest of several contemporary artists, such as Henry Moore, who were also looking to shed much of the accumulations of the nineteenth century and pare back their work to a purer vision and his work was much collected by those in the modernist circles.
The drawn designs of the fish are typical of the freehand slip images of animals that Cardew used to decorate his early pots. With little room for mistakes, he practiced these drawings many times on paper to get the fluidity and speed correct so that the immediacy was preserved in the transition to the pot.
This marvellous teapot was one of seven examples made circa 1928-9 for a local tearoom in Winchcombe and although it does not bear Cardew’s personal seal, has been confirmed by Sidney Tustin in writing as having been made and decorated by Cardew. Tustin joined the Winchcombe Pottery as Cardew’s apprentice in 1927 and worked there until 1979.