The Lumber Room : Unimagined Treasures

A third gallery space on the first floor of York City Art Gallery is given over to the Artist in Residence. The first artist appointed to this task at the newly reopened Gallery is Mark Hearld and I really loved his choice of topic.

LR sign

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Matthew Darbyshire and The W.A. Ismay Collection at The Hepworth, Wakefield


The Hepworth Gallery by the River Calder in Wakefield

On Thursday I revisited The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. I went back specifically to see the Matthew Darbyshire installation of pots juxtaposed with modern white goods in Gallery 10. Unfortunately this exhibition closes today but the pots, which belong to the York Art Gallery collection, will be back in a special new gallery to be created at York when the museum reopens in 2015.

With my new-found appreciation of studio pottery I was looking forward to seeing this exhibition. I was not disappointed.

Hepworth poster

This fascinating project brings together one of Britain’s most exciting contemporary artists, Matthew Darbyshire, with one of the world’s most significant assemblages of post-war studio pottery, the W.A. Ismay Collection.

Ismay 2

Librarian and collector William Alfred Ismay (1910-2001) lived in Wakefield his whole life. From 1955 he began to collect pieces by some of the most renowned makers of studio pottery from Hans Coper and Shoji Hamada to works by local Yorkshire potters, Barbara Cass and Joan Hotchin, alongside lesser known ceramicists.

His extraordinary collection of 3,600 items, by 500 makers, covered all the available surfaces of his small terraced house in Wakefield. This extraordinary collection offers an insight into the compulsive and systematic habits and protocols of a unique and unusual collector.” [Introduction from The Hepworth website]

Ismay and TV

Contemporary installation artist Matthew Darbyshire assembled the display based on the floor plan and the furniture or kind of furniture that Ismay would have owned in his Wakefield terraced home; he added modern streamlined household white goods as a contrast to the handmade ceramics and he used just 700 of the total of 3,600 pots from Ismay’s collection. In addition a flat screen TV shows a loop of original motion picture clips that Darbyshire has put together on the themes of man and machines and dance including hip-hop and other natural human movement contrasting the manmade with machines and technology.

And here is my selection of pots (mostly teapots) :

With Coloseum

Includes a Roman Colosseum ‘pot’

Teapots 1

Teapots 2

Teapots 3

Teapots 4

Teapots 5

Teapots 6

Teapots 7

Teapots 8

Teapots 9

Nice pot

Viewing the pots made you really want to pick them up so luckily there was a small selection of pots that you were allowed to feel and examine and another TV loop of potters talking about their first meetings with Bill Ismay.


You may pick up these pots

See how Matthew Darbyshire put it all together here :

And here is Down By The Dougie’s view of “Lots of Pots” and more photos.