This porcelain teapot is part of a body of work spanning a 10-year period, when Julian Stair began placing more emphasis on form over surface treatment in his work. Stair began producing thrown tableware as a result of an increasing interest in the philosophy of engaging with pots, ensuring the practice of the everyday remains important:
‘I think the experience of the tactile, the haptic, is so significant to our understanding of the world, and is so underused in the world of art. When we appreciate objects – touch them – hold them in our hand – somehow, it’s a material reinforcement of our physical selves. I’m really interested in the idea of how we negotiate our way through life physically, as well as intellectually.’ 
The teapot has a clear glaze and a Japanese wisteria handle, which has been traditionally used to make handles over centuries. Stair describes some of the influences that led to this new development in his work:
‘I came to the inevitable prospect that it wasn’t really enough to make pots that you looked at or may even picked up…but pots that could actually be used. I had started to have exhibitions and some public collections who had bought work…but I just couldn’t quite square what I was doing with what I felt I should be doing.
I can’t stress enough how unfashionable it was to make pottery then…that was the dominant view of the day…views were so narrow. I was trying to negotiate a way. I started to look more to Europe, to people such as Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, who came out of the European Modernist tradition…so in the mid to late 1980s I started to make porcelain tableware. It was so far removed from what everyone else was doing…and people were responsive, and that was really interesting.’ 
In hindsight Stair feels that artists such as himself and Joanna Constantinidis began a revival in throwing and using porcelain in the UK, that continued with Rupert Spira and Edmund De Waal. 
Katharine Malcolm, September 2020
 Julian Stair and others, Julian Stair: Quietus Reviewed, Archaeology of an exhibition (Bath:
Wunderkammer Press, 2013), p.9.
 John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series: ‘A Sense of Place’, The Pennsylvania State University, 18 February 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTyzNba2KL4 (accessed 14 August 2020)
 Interview with Julian Stair, phone call 19/06/20.
John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series: ‘A Sense of Place’, The Pennsylvania State University, 18 February 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTyzNba2KL4
Stair, Julian, Michael Tooby, Helen Waters, James Beighton, Andrew Renton, and Sophie Hacker and others, Julian Stair: Quietus Reviewed, Archaeology of an exhibition (Bath: Wunderkammer Press, 2013).
Not on display
Artist/Maker: Julian Stair
Object Type: teapot
Materials: Porcelain, Wood (wisteria)
Measurements: h 21.6 x w 16.4 x d 12.3 cm
Accession Number: LSC 5
Historic Period: 20th century
Production Place: Britain, England, Europe
Copyright: © Julian Stair
Credit Line: Bequeathed by Lady Sainsbury, 2014
Potted History: Julian Stair and the Sainsbury Centre
From meeting Lisa Sainsbury in 1982, to his latest monumental jars, the artist discusses his history with the CentreContinue reading