Hans Coper was born in Chemnitz in Germany. He came to England in 1939 but was arrested as an alien and sent to Canada, returning to England in 1941 where he enrolled in the Pioneer Corps. After being discharged from the army, Coper joined Lucie Rie at her Albion Mews studio in London; he later established a studio in Frome, Somerset in 1967 after teaching at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art. His work was widely exhibited during his lifetime. In 1962 he was commissioned to make candlesticks for Coventry Cathedral. In 1983 a retrospective exhibition was shown at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, which later travelled to Germany and the Netherlands before being shown at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Coper is acknowledged as one of the most important and influential potters of the 20th Century. Coper’s work embraces a range of reference unparalleled in 20th Century ceramics. Cycladic figures, bronze age amphorae, early Celtic metalwork, pre-historic menhirs, can be conjured from the tightly compressed forms of his work. His vocabulary of forms is severely limited to a few thrown shapes and shows how wheel-thrown clay can become the vehicle of sculptural expression. His works are characterised by their innate tonality and carefully worked surface textures. Coper was a highly regarded teacher who had the gift of drawing out the talents and perceptions of his students, who included Alison Britton and Elizabeth Fritsch, and not forcing on them preconceived ideas of aesthetics.