Malcolm Pepper (British 1937-1980); Large Jar, of Eastern inspired shape reminiscent of a Song Dynasty storage jar ; stoneware; dark terracotta body with upper 2/3 hakame (brush) slip glazed in grey, the interior fully glazed with grey slip; impressed seal to outside of turned foot; 30cm (12ins) high, 25cm (10ins) maximum diameter.
Provenance: Lot 158, from the sale of wares from Malcolm Pepper's studio, Woolley & Wallis, September 2000 (copy of relevant page of the catalogue will be provided to the purchaser – scan available in advance, if desired). Although the potter's seal appears foreshortened, compared to that in British Studio Potter's Marks (Yates-Owen & Fournier, 2nd ed 2005), this may be due to work on the foot of the vase having continued after the seal was impressed. In any case, the shape and glaze of this jar, together with the provenance, can leave no doubt as to its maker.
Additional note: Malcolm Pepper's widow has since examined images of this jar and has confirmed it is by him. Copy emails to this effect will be included with it.
Condition: Excellent – no damage or restoration. The glaze is finely crackled. There is a darker shadow in the gray glaze in one place running down from the shoulder of the vase (see picture 4) and other smaller glazing imperfections to be expected of a studio piece.
Biography: Malcolm Pepper (British 1937-1980)
Pieces by Malcolm Pepper very rarely come on the market because of their scarcity. At the very moment of his recognition by the art establishment, with a substantial exhibition in 1980 of over one hundred works at the Casson Gallery in London, he died aged just 44 years old, shortly before it opened. A further reason his pieces are so rare is because he had very high standards, and would destroy any of them with which he was unsatisfied.
His work is in the Chinese style, more closely related to that of William Staite Murray than Bernard Leach. It is said that he was once visited by the Director of the V& A Museum's Oriental Ceramics Department and asked to mark his work due its having been regularly mistaken for early Chinese.