ABOUT JOHN LAWRENCE
In September 2020, I met John and his wife Ann Verdcourt in their beautiful “Rose Villa” in Dannevirke where John took me to their kiln room and introduced me to his most recent series titled ‘Aesops Fables’.
For this series, John was inspired by childhood memories of reading the Fables by candlelight. This was during WWII and John could only read by candlelight as he was in a bomb shelter - the reality of living in Europe at this time.
Aesops Fables is a collection of tales from the Greek story teller, Aesop. Aesop was a slave in ancient Greece. He was a keen observer of both animals and people. Most of the characters in his stories are animals, some of which take on human characteristic and are personified in ways of speech and emotions. However, the majority of his characters retain their animalistic qualities; tortoise are slow, hares are quick, tigers eat bird, etc. Aesop uses these qualities and natural tendencies of animals to focus on human traits and wisdom. Each fable has an accompanying moral to be learned from the tale. John enjoyed the moral of each story as a child and so, brings these into his works as an adult.
John’s career in ceramics spans decades and few artists would have anywhere near this depth and breadth of experience, knowledge and skill. Born in Essex, UK – John worked in ceramic studies in England, France and Finland up to 1956. From 1958-64 he was head of the Ceramics Department at the Luton School of Art in the UK.
John and Ann moved to New Zealand in 1965 where together they continued to learn, teach and grow their skills to develop an amazing body of work. John’s work is a wonderfully playful and surreal ceramics series incorporating form and imagery in a delightful and incredibly skillful way.
The series is unpredictable and imaginative.
John is no longer producing ceramics and as such, I am so very proud and privileged to represent both John and his works at Quay Gallery. These are rare and special pieces that deserve to be treasured and enjoyed by art collectors and appreciators for years to come.