News | Published: Mon 4 Feb 2013

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Delftware in the Fitzwilliam Museum

A new display of Delftware has gone on display in the central island cases of the Glaisher Gallery in celebration of Michael Archer’s new book Delftware in the Collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

This complete catalogue of the English and Irish delftware in the Museum, reveals much that is beautiful and unusual. The greater part of the collection was bequeathed by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher in 1928, and much of it is little known. A detailed publication has long been overdue, and this book illustrates 588 items in colour, many with multiple views. The strength of Dr Glaisher’s collection is the English earthenware of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly delftware: no better assemblage has ever been made by a single collector. He amassed objects with great academic rigour over a period of more than thirty years, concentrating particularly on dated pieces while always exercising a discriminating and aesthetical eye.

Michael Archer’s catalogue provides details of date and place of manufacture, size, body, glaze, decoration and provenance with a full discussion where appropriate. Julia Poole has contributed a fascinating chapter with much new material on Dr Glaisher’s life and the extraordinary breadth of his collecting interests. There is also a general introduction to delftware, including a description of the manufacturing process; further sections give indexes and exhaustive information on all the works.

This book is an essential addition to the library of all scholars, collectors, auction rooms and dealers in the field and invaluable to those members of the public with an interest in the history of English pottery generally and delftware in particular.

Michael Archer OBE, MA, FSA is a former Keeper of the Ceramics Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum where he became the acknowledged expert on English delftware.
He has written numerous articles and books on ceramics, culminating in Delftware, the Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, a catalogue of the collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum, published in 1997.


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