A Teabowl

Artist: Ursula Mommens (1908-2010)
stoneware, the body with a variegated dark and light grey ash glaze and an unglazed foot, impressed seal to base
Height: 6.8 cm
Diameter: 11 cm
Price: £180

Ursula Mommens was a remarkable woman who, like many who came to adulthood in the wake of the First World War, embraced life in all its facets. She trained as a potter at the Royal College of Art under William Staite Murray and whilst her work always retains a functional and usable quality, it also keeps a rustic modernism close to its heart.

Her first husband was the painter Julian Trevelyan and between them they seem to have known just about everyone in artistic avant-garde London in the the 1930s. Vistors to their home at Durham Wharf near Hammersmith in those years included Henry Moore, Cyril Connolly, Roland Penrose and many others and she and Julian were also involved in the Mass Observation project, taking them around the country.

She met Bernard Leach at Dartington during World War Two and he suggested that she might spend some time working with Michael Cardew. Over a happy six month period in Cornwall and at Winchcombe, his influence and ideas reignited her interest in making good usable pots with their own beauty. She separated from Trevelyan and by the early 1950s had moved to Kent with her second husband, Norman Mommens, where she established a pottery making the works for which she is best known; stylish but simple forms such as this delightfully modest teabowl, a piece which comes alive when held in the hand through its pebble-like shape and weight and pleasing usability. 

A Teabowl
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