Ceramics inspired by heritage of Britain’s port cities now on display

Are you aware of the inspiration you can find for your own work in museums and art galleries? Internationally-renowned ceramic artist Paul Scott certainly was when he visited the print and ceramics collections of four different British museums in 2014! So much so that it inspired him to create the four-part collage on show at the Walker Art Gallery until 28 March 2016.

Paul Scott,  Cookworthy, Body Sherds and Plymouth Rock, Alkalon, Pountney and St Vincent’s Rock(s) Ladies of Llangollen, Dillwyn and Cow Creamers Toxteth Park, Herculaneum, and Liver Birds, 2014, ©Paul Scott.

Paul Scott,  Cookworthy, Body Sherds and Plymouth Rock, Alkalon, Pountney and St Vincent’s Rock(s) Ladies of Llangollen, Dillwyn and Cow Creamers Toxteth Park, Herculaneum, and Liver Birds, 2014, ©Paul Scott.

Museums in Plymouth, Swansea, Liverpool and Bristol commissioned him to develop the work through the Contemporary Art Society’s New Story of Craft scheme. There are many similarities between the collections in that all are in port cities with a history of trade as well as manufacture; most notably, all had eighteenth-century porcelain factories. Paul made a research visit to each of the collections, where he was interested not only in the ceramics but also in the prints and drawings.

Paul’s work is a response to the objects, prints and materials he unearthed during this research phase. He created his own transfer prints digitally and printed them onto older pieces of pottery made in the four cities (though not those that formed part of the collections!) These were then combined with fragments of printed antique ceramics and housed in four old print drawers. Paul thus recycled the historic elements into a new work that tells stories from the past relating to each of these port cities. He often makes political comments in his practice and – if you look closely – you’ll see visual references to the darker side of their histories, i.e. their associations with the slave trade.

Why not go and see the exhibition if you’ve got a chance?