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PRODUCED to accompany a touring exhibition (March 2003-July 2004) by the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, this is a book celebrating the life and work of David Leach, regarded by many as a potter whose work does not receive the attention it justly deserves. But then, like many children of famous fathers, Bernard Leach’s fame has created a structure that is difficult for his son to break down and difficult for critics to see through.

David Leach saw his father struggling and failing, not in his ideals but in their realisation, and saw his role as providing technical and managerial support without which Bernard Leach would have gone bankrupt, and perhaps ended as a footnote to, rather than a prime mover of, the British studio pottery movement.

David sought help from “the enemy”, the industrial devils of Stoke-on-Trent, and persuaded his father’s backers to back him, against his father’s wishes, and demonstrated his worth by ensuring the continuation of the St Ives Pottery. He introduced radical changes and inaugurated the production of Leach Standard Ware, including the first mail order catalogue for studio pottery. David Leach established his own workshop, Lowerdown Pottery, at Bovey Tracey, where he first produced earthenware and then high-fired wares. He developed his own style of tableware and distinctive pots and created a specialist hard-paste porcelain, suitable for studio use, and he exhibited widely.

David Leach’s career as a potter has spanned some 70 years and the book’s first 70 pages are biographical, followed by the catalogue section of the exhibition’s 130 pots made from each decade; fluent in form and in the Leachian tradition.