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York Colletion ref: YORAG_SHAW_522

James Tower (1919-1988) made large vessels that were expansive in form, and with fluid and lyrical marking that reflected Tower's love of watery places, born as he was on the estuary-bordered Isle of Sheppey. It was a place, he wrote, of "…shells and flatfish, the debris of the receding tide, the rhythmic gradation of sand to gravel, worn flints arranged in carefully assorted bands, the reeds and grasses [which] displayed the exact natural rhythms, echoing the weather and endless rearrangement of organic groupings."

Trained as a painter at the Royal Academy Schools and the Slade, and in clay at the London Institute, Tower was stimulated into ceramics by a love of English slipwares and Picasso's pots. He began to explore an art that was a kind of fusion between sculpture and painting. He worked initially in thrown earthenware, then in press-moulded tin-glaze, a surface he returned to in the last decade of his life, after many years investigating terracotta and bronze. His organic forms abstractly and poetically celebrated marginal, remote landscape and seascape, and the imprints of the natural world.

David Whiting

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