Pottery making is one of the oldest and most widespread of human activities, with a history that can be traced back to the Stone Age. Stylistic and technical changes over time reveal a great deal about the societies in which the pottery was made, so that clay vessels serve as essential cultural and dating indicators, as well as objects of individual skill and creativity. This lavishly illustrated and comprehensive account begins with the earliest civilizations of the Near East and Middle East and follows the production of pottery chronologically around the globe, from the Mediterranean and the Orient to the Islamic world and ancient America, from neolithic Britain to the factories of Wedgwood and de Morgan, from contemporary Africa and India to Scandinavia and Australasia. The final chapters analyze the development of ceramics as a medium of personal expression by artists and studio potters during the twentieth century. This is the fourth edition of a work that has been deemed a classic since its first publication in 1972 and, for this new edition, has been completely revised, expanded, and redesigned, with new illustrations throughout. The illustrations are drawn from museums, collectors, and practicing potters across the word and offer representative examples of the major styles, materials, and forms of all periods, allowing us to make comparisons and see relationships between the works of potters who may be widely separated in space and time.
Emmanuel Cooper is internationally known as a potter, writer, and broadcaster and as the editor of the highly respected and influential magazine Ceramic Review. He has written widely on both modern and historical ceramics and has contributed to Pottery in the Making.