Great Dixter to host major show by acclaimed potter

Christopher Lloyd with a vase
Christopher Lloyd with a vase

NORTHIAM’S Great Dixter House is to host the first UK display of a famous potter’s work in 20 years.

The last major exhibition of Alan Caiger Smith’s work in this country was held in 1993.

Twenty years on more than 70 pieces will be on display in Dixter’s Great Hall and Solar, from September 28 - October 27.

Most are from the collection of samples pieces retained when the pottery closed in 2006, others were collected by Christopher Lloyd or given by him to his friends. The pieces represent an important record of the pottery’s output going back to the 1960s.

Caiger Smith is a British studio potter and writer on pottery. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1930. He studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, read history at Kings College, Cambridge and then in 1954 studied pottery and how to tin glaze earthenware at the Central School of Art and Design under Dora Billington.

Caiger Smith founded the Aldermaston Pottery in 1955 in the building he had known from his childhood as the village smithy.

He worked in tin glaze earthenware and was responsible for re-introducing lustre pottery to Britain following in the tradition of the Victorian potter, William de Morgan.

Caiger Smith’s bold calligraphic brushstrokes, his subtle wood fired colours and luminous metallic surfaces created objects of great beauty.

The earthy colours of Great Dixter’s timber and plaster and its old oak furniture will be a perfect setting for this riot of colour and exuberance.

Christopher Lloyd, one of the 20th century’s most eminent plantsmen, gardeners and writers, was from the early 1960’s an enthusiastic collector of Alan Caiger- Smith’s pottery.

He was attracted by its rich lustrous appearance echoing the famously bold colours he loved to apply in his internationally renowned garden.

Great Dixter House was designed by the great 20th century architect Lutyens.

Great Dixter House and Gardens are open until 27 October, Tuesday to Sunday. Gardens 11 am – 5 pm (last admission) House 2 -5pm. Admission charges with Gift Aid (Standard charges in brackets) House and Gardens: Adult £10.45 (£9.50) Child £5.50 (£5.00) Gardens only: Adult £8.25 (£7.50), child £4.40 (£4.00)Annual Tickets: One person £22.00, two persons: £30 (ticket holder and guest), Family: £36.00 (2 adults, 2 children aged 5 -15 years.)

For more information call 01797 252878 or visit the website at www.greatdixter.co.uk