Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

3.05.2013

Ceramics at Charleston


 [Quentin Bell,  Stoke-on-Trent,  glazed ceramic vase, circa 1937.]

At the end of the month Charleston, the Bloomsbury Group's country house and garden, reopens to the public for the spring and summer seasons. But right now there's an expanded website to explore. With anticipation building for the 2016 centenary, the boho rooms Vanessa Bell created with Duncan Grant continue to fascinate. While this beautifully produced video about Charleston's future offers a bit of a virtual tour, the ever-improving online collection database really provides a sense of the artists' extensive assemblage of textiles, paintings, and ceramics.

[Blue-and-white global finds abound in Charleston's collection. At top right, a late-17th-century majolica jar from Italy; at left, a late-19th-century glazed porcelain saucer from China.] 

At this point everything is coexisting together (appropriate for the Bloomsburries, no?), so antiques purchased by Duncan or Vanessa appear in the same groups as pieces they and their creative cohorts made themselves. Because of this, it's easy to make connections between the old and not-terribly-old. Scrolling through ceramics, you'll find work by Vanessa's son, potter Quentin Bell, side-by-side with the pieces that likely influenced him.

[Islamic wares, like this 14th- or 15th-century bowl above, particularly inspired Bell. Below, see one of his earlier pieces photographed by Penelope Fewster.]

[All images ©The Charleston Trust.]

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