Pots and vases exhibition a riot of colour

SUE SKINNER It is the sort of decorative artware which would have been a common sight in many British homes in the Sixties and Seventies.

SUE SKINNER

It is the sort of decorative artware which would have been a common sight in many British homes in the Sixties and Seventies.

But the highly-coloured pots and vases which graced mantelpieces or held bunches of flowers quickly fell out of favour as more understated styles came to the fore.

Now the German and Italian ceramics are enjoying a revival as an influence on leading High Street retailers and interior designers.

And a Norfolk exhibition is offering a chance to view nearly 700 blasts from the past.

The unique display at King's Lynn Arts Centre belongs to avid collector Graham Cooley, who has assembled around 850 pieces during a 10-year trawl of car-boot sales, junk shops, antique sellers and the internet auction site, eBay.

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Excessive in form, scale and colour, they are characterised by fat lava salt glazes or deep sgraffito.

“I like German ceramics because they are a bit mad,” said Dr Cooley. “They are big and colourful and I like that sort of thing. A lot are very designed and very serious and a lot of them are mad and funny.”

He said visitors to the exhibition in the Fermoy Gallery could well recognise ornaments which had been in their families years ago but were later discarded.

“They got scrapped en masse,” he said.

“If they hadn't scrapped so much of it, there would be a lot of it about - but there isn't any more.

“I think they look great. You go into Habitat or Ikea now and they've influenced all the designs in those shops. It's striking how close they are to the things that are being sold in the High Street at the moment.”

The display, Fat Lava, continues until August 12.

t www.kingslynnarts.co.uk

t www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk

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