Lucie Rie was born in Vienna. Austria and moved to England in 1938 just before the Anschluss and established a studio in London. In 1938 she moved to London. Here she set up a studio in Albion Mews making buttons and ceramic jewellery. In 1947 she was joined by Hans Coper, making tableware and individual works, and they regularly exhibited together at the Berkeley Galleries in London. During the 1960s she taught at Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art, London. In 1967 the Arts Council mounted a retrospective of her work, the following year Rie was awarded a CBE and in 1981 a DBE in recognition of her contribution to British cultural life. Rie’s work had enormous impact; in everything she did she went against the prevailing orthodoxy: using stoneware glazes on earthenware; creating tableware with distinctly metropolitan feel to them when such works were the province of the rural potteries; and creating glazes with a richness and depth from a single firing in an electric oxidising kiln. Her work was wholly individual yet acknowledged the full range of ceramic history and practice. Rie has shown that it was possible to produce a wholly new form of ceramics without jettisoning the basic potter’s traditions – vase and bowl shapes formed on the wheel.

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