Dora Billington

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Dora May Billington (1890 – 1968) was an English teacher of pottery, a writer and a studio potter.

Life and career[edit]

Dora Billington was born into a family of potters in Stoke-on-Trent and studied at Hanley School of Art. She worked as a decorator for Bernard Moore, c.1909-1911 and then studied at the Royal College of Art (RCA) 1911-1916 and the Slade School of Art.[1] As the ceramics department at the RCA was in danger of closing because of the war, she helped to run it with John Adams (who later ran the Poole Pottery). She taught pottery at the Central School of Arts and Crafts from 1919 and left the RCA in 1924.[1] She later became head of department at the Central School assisted by Gilbert Harding Green. Her teaching emphasised the importance of hand building as the first stage of working with clay. She had an extensive knowledge of glaze technology and the history of ceramics. Among her students were Quentin Bell,[2] William Newland, Gordon Baldwin, Ruth Duckworth and Alan Caiger-Smith. She retired from her post at the Central in 1955 when Gilbert Harding Green became Head of Department.

She was President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society from 1949[1] and was involved with the Crafts Centre of Great Britain in London, which was chaired by her colleague John Farleigh, and she selected the ceramics shown there. She was also involved with the Smithsonian touring Exhibition of British Artist Craftsmen in the 1950s.

Her book The Art of the Potter (1937), was the first to relate contemporary craft practice to its historical context and in The Technique of Pottery (1962) she gave a comprehensive account of the different methods of working.

Since the 1980s there has been an increased interest in her influence on twentieth century British studio pottery.[3][4][5]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Art of the Potter, Oxford, OUP, 1937
  • The Technique of Pottery, London, Batsford, 1962

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c John Farleigh, The Creative Craftsman, London: G.Bell & Sons, 1950
  2. ^ Bell, Quentin, "My Day". Ceramic Review, London, No. 158, March/April 1996
  3. ^ Tanya Harrod, "The Forgotten '50s", Crafts, no.98, May/June 1989, pp.30-33.
  4. ^ Julian Stair, "Dora Billington" Crafts no. 154, September/October 1998, pp.24–25
  5. ^ Jones, Jeffrey, In Search of the Picassoettes

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]