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ABOVE: Anthony Shaw Collection, pictured at Billing Place, London, in 2011

collections has also changed as people become increasingly invested in curating their home environments and so some collectors are searching for works for very particular places within their homes.’ STARTING A COLLECTION Largely, private collectors differ enormously from public museum ceramic buyers for one fundamental reason: they generally collect what they like, rather than what they think they should have. The collector’s challenge in terms of building a collection of importance is f inding a focus.

‘A love of the medium and a passion for what can be done with it is a starting point,’ Shaw explains. ‘I start from the gut and want work that I sense will be of interest. I like to go on the journey that the artist is taking.’ Bacon agrees. ‘Many people look but do not see. Don’t be afraid to approach artists; explore group studio spaces and commercial galleries and ask questions, very few people start collecting with expert knowledge. Art in all its forms is a product not only of the mind but of the soul.’

Gray suggests that: ‘You can create a world-class ceramic collection and become knowledgeable in your chosen f ield with a modest outlay – in a way that would not be possible with other art forms such as paintings.’

Curatorial specialists suggest following trusted institutions and to take note of their acquisitions, whether they are well-known names or the newly discovered. Some suggest looking for artists that are innovating craft techniques, subverting traditions, or those that make you question form, space or preconceived ideas.

Yet the f inal word must go to W.A. Ismay MBE, librarian and collector of over 3,600 pots: ‘As a collector I am primarily a man who is pleasing himself and enriching his own life.’

For details visit Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales;, CoCA;, English Ceramic Circle;, Maak; t i m m a r t i n w o r k s h o p

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54 May/June 2023

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