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Frances Priest: Influences of the East at the Bowes Museum

Frances Priest: Influences of the East

22 June – 15 September

The Bowes Museum is delighted to showcase the most recent work of the Edinburgh based artist potter, Frances Priest.

The ceramicist is inspired by different cultures, places and periods in history and she creates intricate and colourful objects that celebrate her fascination for ornament and pattern.

She uses her interests as a platform to engage with new settings and environments and her works at the Museum will be shown nestled among historic Chinese and Japanese porcelain from our own collection, selected by curator Howard Coutts.

Chinese and Japanese porcelains are characterised by intense colours, some under the glaze, known as “underglaze blue”, some in rich overglaze enamel colours with red or green dominating, called “famille rose” or “famille verte” (pink or green families) by the French.

Using ‘The Grammar of Ornament’ by Owen Jones, a mid-19th century handbook of international and historic styles lavishly printed in colour chromolithography, as a stepping stone into exploration, Frances uses clay as a canvas on which she builds richly drawn and layered surfaces of inlaid line, glaze colour and enamel decals.

Howard Coutts, The Bowes Museum’s curator of ceramics, said: “This exhibition looks at the colour, line and pattern in ceramics both from and inspired by the East.  The remarkable vivid colours and pattern painted onto the white porcelain of the historic works provides and interesting comparison to Frances’ contemporary explorations of ornamental motifs, surface pattern and colour.”

Frances Priest, said: “I’m delighted to be showing my work at The Bowes Museum, which is renowned for having an outstanding ceramics collection.  My work will both complement and contrast with the items it’s placed alongside.

“For the exhibition I have created a new group of works that respond to examples of Clobber Ware.  This 18th century phenomenon saw imported Blue and White ceramics from Japan and China ‘clobbered’ in Europe with brightly coloured low fired enamels. The works respond to this unusual layering of pattern and colour.  They also develop my ongoing exploration of the Victorian pattern book ‘The Grammar of Ornament’, picking up on ornamental motifs from the Chinese section of the book.”

Frances Priest: Influences of the East opens on 22 June and will be on view until 15 September.


Barnard Castle