Bernard Leach (1887-1979) was arguably a highly gifted draughtsman first and foremost, but one who married his concerns as a painter and etcher to the medium of clay, realising his decorative and expressive ideas on pots that drew heavily on Far Eastern and medieval English exemplars. Nonetheless his best pots had all the restraint and lyricism of a quieter English modernism, making much of the clay's texture and the riches of their glazes. He is best judged as an artistic all-rounder, and of course as the potter who did most, along with Michael Cardew, to energise the studio movement in its formative years.
Leach trained at the Slade School and London School of Art before becoming interested in ceramics in Japan. In 1920 he founded a pottery at St Ives, here training dozens of potters as well as producing domestic ware along with individual pieces. His books, particularly 'A Potter's Book' have proved enormously influential and persuasive in encouraging countless people, particularly in the 1940s to the 1970s, to take up pottery as a career and vocation.