The decorated object : gender, modernism and the design of industrial ceramics in Britain in the 1930s

Cheryl Buckley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter provides a re-assessment of still relatively unexplored aspects of design history –ceramics- and examines the ‘contingency’ of modernism in Britain in the 1930s with both regional (Stoke-on-Trent) and metropolitan (London) perspectives. The chapter highlights the intricacies of debates about decoration and modernism and elucidates the ‘gendered’ responses to design of key critics such as Pevsner and Forsyth. It contributes to the rethinking that has taken place regarding the nature of modernism in Britain. A thread running through Buckley’s four RAE outputs is the relationships between centre/periphery; regional/metropolitan; and north/south. This adds depth to understandings of modernism and modernity; and gender and class identities. This essay appears in a well reviewed subject-defining anthology that brought together key figures working in the area. The author has made a significant contribution to these debates over time –both nationally and internationally. The history of ceramics remains an important area of Buckley’s on-going research activity, and new papers are planned, for example on inter-war ceramic ‘fancies’, taste and class (part of a new edited collection Best Things. Taste, Class and Design ), plus publication of existing conference papers (e.g. ‘The Point of the Pot: Early Studio Ceramics and the ‘taste’ for early Chinese and early English ceramics in The Burlington Magazine , 1900-1920’, ‘Visual Culture and Taste in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain conference’, Northumbria University, July 15-16, 2004). PGR students working on related subjects - David Campbell’s PhD ‘Place, Image Space and Pleasure: the seaside resort in the North East 1919-1939’ (Sept 2002) -Michael Johnson ‘Architectural Taste and Patronage in the NE of Eng 1870-1914’ (full-time AHRC studentship Sept 2005).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen artists and the decorative arts, 1880-1935: the gender of ornament
Place of PublicationFarnham
Number of pages229
ISBN (Print)0754605965
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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