Blackmore Vale NewsObituaries

Richard Batterham – Obituary

Richard Batterham, of Durweston, was one of the most revered potters of his time.
27th March 1936 – 7th September 2021

Richard Batterham in The Pottery – © Millie Pilkington

It was Donald Potter and Bryanston School that set Richard off on a lifetime’s work making pots. After school he studied for two years at the Leach pottery in St Ives, where he met fellow potter Dinah Dunn. They married and moved to Durweston, where they set up the pottery in which Richard worked for nearly 60 years. He made his last pots at the age of 82.

Richard sold his work at David Mellor and Joanna Bird in London, Simon Pearce in New York, and at Sladers Yard in West Bay. He had exhibitions across the UK and Europe. His exhibitions closer to home were often with artist Richard Bawden, his friend from childhood, or John Maltby, a long term friend and fellow potter and sculptor.

Many, many of his pots were sold directly from the pottery, and Richard formed close friendships with long-term customers. Their visits were nearly always accompanied by warm and wise discussions and a walk around the vegetable garden which formed as much a part of his life as the pottery.

Little changed at the pottery in those 60 years, apart from the ongoing development of his pots. The pottery gave several generations of family and visitors a huge stability, forming an integral part of their lives, reinforced with the daily use of his pots.Richard rang the bells at Durweston church for more than 40 years, he played Joseph in the Christmas play at Lower Berrycourt Farm for as many years, and he kept Bees until varroa struck.

He faded away peacefully at home on the 7th September age 85, after spending two years working with the V&A in London, planning an exhibition of ‘life in pots’ which will open on 26th November 2021 and will include a book to mark his life. This gave a focus to his reflections on a productive and extraordinary life once he was no longer able to make pots.He has been described as one of the ‘greatest artists of Modern times’ – an accolade he would have smiled at and just got on with making pots.

Dinah died in 2007. Richard is survived by their five children, Annabel, Imogen, George, Jessamine, and Reuben, by 15 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and by his brother David.

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