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1920 – 1981

Stoneware vase
33.5 x 20 x 20 cm
Purchased in 1961. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


Together with his friend and mentor Lucie Rie, German-born Coper became a leading figure in studio pottery — the production of unique ceramic wares by individual artist-potters. Its revival in Britain had been dominated by Bernard Leach in St Ives before the war, but Coper’s work revolutionised British ceramics.

During the 1950s, he increasingly moved from making functional vessels towards forms with strong sculptural, or bodily, qualities. Rie commented in 1988, ‘I am a potter, but he was an artist’. Their work is part of an important ceramics collection built by Wakefield from the 1950s onwards.