Waistel Cooper 1921-2003


Waistel Cooper was a British painter and a major figure of the studio pottery scene in the post-war period. He was instrumental in the development of modernism within the world of ceramics.

Born in Ayr, Scotland, he initially studied painting at Hospitalfield School of Art before winning a painting scholarship to Edinburgh College of Art.


After the interrupted of world war two, Cooper attempted his hand at pottery with a portrait commission in Iceland. Following this, he returned to England to set up a pottery studio in the village of Porlock, Somerset in 1950.


In August 1955, Henry Rothschild (1913–2009) gave Cooper a one-man show at his craft gallery in London, Primavera. Often compared to contemporary London based studio potters Coper and Lucie Rie, Cooper’s rural lifestyle meant that he was largely isolated from London trends. Cooper stated, “I met Lucie Rie and Hans Coper in the fifties and felt a very strong kinship with the direction their work was taking, in so far as it was concerned, as was mine, with sculptural form and texture, and was light years away from the Japonaiserie of the Bernard Leach school of pottery.”


In 1957 Cooper moved to the nearby hamlet of Culbone, where he re-established his pottery. He remained at Culbone Lodge for 25 years, before moving to Penzance in 1982.



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