Image["Image of Leeds Pottery teapot"]

Leeds Pottery teapot
Britain, 18th / 19th century
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
EC.14 & A-1946

Image["Image of Wine cup and stand"]

Wine cup and stand
Korea, Koryo Dynasty
12th century
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, C.450 & A-1984


The Fitzwilliam Museum, and in particular its ceramics collection, has given me a wealth of enjoyment and inspiration over the years and continues to do so to the present day. It is always a privilege and pleasure to meander amongst such a rich and diverse collection. Visiting the particular favourites that most resonate with me has become a long-standing ritual. These objects can always be relied upon both to enthuse me and to stimulate the creative process.


What particularly inspired me about this piece was the strength and simplicity of its form, and the purity and smooth coolness of its white surface. The double-twisted handle springs from the body of the teapot, giving it a sense of great energy; and it derives an aura of industrial precision and functionality from the process of mass-production. This robust, simple feel is enhanced by the contrasting intricacy of the ribbed and rouletted surface texture. The detailed floral modelling on the lid and the joins between handle and body – striking in an object of such small scale. I especially admire the unity and harmonious balance achieved by the way in which the design brings the different parts of the teapot together.


I admire the meticulous making-process that evidently lies behind this piece. It is an exquisitely elegant object, perfectly proportioned so as to create a sense of balance and aesthetic reconciliation. The curves flow energetically from the foot to the fine rims of the cup and stand, with the irregular dips and the fine crazing on the stand adding a sort of jarring ‘rhythm’. The Korean celadon glaze highlights the sensitive sgraffito design, and collects and pools at the base, adding depth and richness to the subtle, tactile surface. The cup sits on the stand as if poised on a pedestal, giving the unmistakable sense that it belongs there, as well as seemingly inviting us to drink from it. Stylish as they are, the cup and stand are clearly made to be used. This combination of beauty and functionality – something which I strive for in my own work – seems to be effortlessly effected by this piece.

© Rebecca Harvey, 2008


Image["Image of Rebecca Harvey"]

Rebecca Harvey

Image["Image of Teaset by Rebecca Harvey"]

Teaset by Rebecca Harvey 2008
© Rebecca Harvey

Rebecca Harvey (b. 1970)

Born in Reading in 1970, Rebecca Harvey grew up in Cambridge. She then studied Art and 3D Design at Cardiff College of Art, where she specialised in Ceramics. Particularly interested in soda glaze ware, she was taught by Mike Casson, Peter Starkey and Geoffry Swindell. Having been awarded a Crafts Council Setting-Up Grant, Harvey established her own studio in Cambridge in 1996, became professional member of the Crafts Potters Association in 1998 and a selected maker of the Crafts Council in 2002. Inspired by Japanese ceramics, eighteenth-century cream ware and twentieth-century enamels, her work has featured in many exhibitions in Britain and abroad and has been honoured by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust in 2005 and the Royal College of Art in 2007. Fascinated by the quality of different materials, Harvey has also recently started to work in glass. A dedicated teacher, she is also known for her publications on glazes, cups and teapots.

Rebecca Harvey divides her time between Cambridge and St Ives, Cornwall.

UCP 2008

Related Links

Selected Bibliography

R. Harvey, ‘Sensual Pleasures’, Ceramic Review, no. 193, 2002,

R. Harvey, ‘Remember take off toilet slippers’, Ceramic Review, no. 225, 2007

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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Rebecca Harvey

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