Michael Cardew, studio potter: papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Personal papers including, Michael Cardew's diaries (1916 - 1983); personal photographs (1903 - 1983); personal correspondence (1933 - 1982); other papers including Mariel Cardew's papers, (1915 - 2000). Business papers including, pottery photograhs (undated); potteries (1926 - 1980s); films (1965 - 1977); publications (1951 - 1983); lectures, professional seminars and exhibitions (1933 - 1985); projects and research (ca. 1946 - 1973).

Administrative / Biographical History

Michael Cardew (1901-1983) was a pioneer of the studio pottery movement, and is widely credited as having revived the slipware tradition in England. He held a major international reputation and his work has been highly influential throughout the world. Cardew had a long and rich working life, which included lengthy spells in Africa in addition to the time spent running potteries in Gloucestershire and Cornwall, writing extensively and giving lectures and demonstrations at home and abroad. From 1923-1926 Michael Cardew worked at the St. Ives Pottery, leaving to set up his own pottery at Wincombe from 1926-1939. Cardew finally settled at Wenford Bridge Pottery and worked on and off here until his death on 11 February, 1983. His passion for pottery lead him to teach at Achimota College, Ghana from 1942-45, set up a pottery at Vume from 1946-48 and to be Pottery Officer in Abuja, Nigeria from 1950-1965, where he encouraged such potters as Ladi Kwali. In 1965 he was appointed MBE and in 1981 appointed CBE and chosen as selector and writer for the Crafts Council exhibition 'The Makers Eye'. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in 1982. Michael Cardew's book, 'Pioneer Pottery' was published in 1969, a film of his life, 'Mud and Water Man' was released in 1973 and his autobiography, 'A Pioneer Potter' was published posthumously in 1988.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Seth Cardew, son of Michael Cardew, 2004.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Personal Names

Corporate Names