Richard Batterham (1936-2021) was one of the most respected post-war potters working in this country. Introduced to clay at 13 during his time at Bryanston School, Batterham apprenticed at the Leach Pottery (where he met his wife, Dinah Dunn) before establishing his own studio in Dorset in 1959. He remained there for over seven decades, expanding his workshop and honing the exceptional range of wares that became so synonymous with his name they had no need for a potter’s mark. His work earned him the esteem of major collectors, among them Sir David Attenborough and the food writer Nigel Slater, and is currently being celebrated this year with a major ongoing retrospective at the V&A Museum.
The pots in this exhibition all come from the private collection of Mike Dodd, a lifelong friend of Batterham’s and fellow Bryanston alumnus. They were bought over many years, to educate and inform Dodd’s own work as silent teachers. Now, Dodd has decided to hand them on to the next generation of potters and collectors, in the hope that they might continue to speak and find appreciation.
‘For me,’ Dodd writes, ‘Richard was an exceptional potter whose like only comes along very occasionally. Rounded and unpretentious in his approach, he was constantly observing, learning and refining either the clay, the glazes or the way he made things. His strong work ethic held a deep respect for potters from many cultures and gave us pots of unassuming and unselfconscious beauty and vitality. He insisted that the pots were not about him, but should reflect a deeper aliveness “to enrich and not to decorate”. And in keeping with this ethos, he chose not to sign or mark his pots, preferring that the they should speak for themselves.’