This early thin-walled thrown bowl by Lucie Rie demonstrates the essential characteristics of her work: precision, control and balance. The form is crisp and simple. The interior is painted thinly with a warm white crackle glaze which harmoniously counterpoints the smooth unglazed matt exterior. Rie’s standardware, of which this is an example, was being sold at upmarket retailers including Heal’s and Primavera. By 1950 she had also begun to export worldwide to retailers and galleries in New Zealand and North America. 
Rie arrived in London from Vienna, aged 36 in 1938, as a refugee fleeing Nazism. In Vienna she had studied ceramics at the Kunstgewerbeschule (school for applied arts) from 1922 to 1926, under artist and sculptor Michael Powolny and her work had begun to gain critical acclaim. Shortly after Rie’s arrival in Britain she established a studio in Albion Mews. After the war she employed assistants (including Hans Coper) to help her make ceramic buttons for the couture fashion industry (see L64 EX). By the late 1940s the button business had ended and Rie began to produce standardware (see also S55 and 41362M), including ranges made in collaboration with Coper (see 50767 and S.67a). Rie invigorated post war ceramics in Britain, against a backdrop of Leachian and English country pottery traditions, her independent vision enabled studio ceramics to be seen afresh – modern and metropolitan.
This bowl belonged to Tony Birks, who authored the first monograph on Rie in 1987. Lady Lisa Sainsbury was a great collector of Rie’s work and she and her husband, Sir Robert Sainsbury supported the production of Birks’ publication.
Sim Panaser, August 2020
 The papers of Lucie Rie, 1870s – 1995. Crafts Study Centre Archives, University for the Creative Arts. GB 2941 RIE, <https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb2941-rie>, (date accessed 18/08/2020).
Birks, Tony, Lucie Rie, (Sherborne: Alphabooks, 1987)
Coatts, Margot, ed., Lucie Rie & Hans Coper: Potters in Parallel, (Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1997)
Cooper, Emmanuel, Lucie Rie: Modernist Potter, (London: Yale University Press, 2012)
Frankel, Cyril, Modern Pots: Hans Coper, Lucie Rie and their Contemporaries, (London: Thames and Hudson, 2000)
Heath, Sophie, ‘The Lucie Rie Archive at the Crafts Study Centre’, <https://vads.ac.uk/learning/csc/rie/essay.html> [accessed 17/08/20]
Houston, John, ed., Lucie Rie, (London: Crafts Council, 1981)
Not on display
Artist/Maker: Lucie Rie
Born: 1950 c.
Object Type: Bowl
Measurements: d. 160mm
Accession Number: 50767
Historic Period: 20th century
Copyright: © Estate of the Artist
Credit Line: Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government from Leslie Birks Hay and allocated to SCVA, 2016