Lustre: In Time, and Place!

Lustre: In Time, and Place!

Greg Daly

In what time and place did ceramic lustre emerge and develop, and its limited knowledge of this technique and skill emerge and develop beginning in the 9th century. We see this guarded technique begin in Persia. slowly spreading to Spain and into northern Italy by the Renaissance period. To nearly disappear to re emerge in the mid 1800, again through a very select group of people: Clement Massier, Zsolnay, DeMorgan, Pilington in particular.

How important place and time was to the use and spread of lustre. Until the mid 1970 very little had been collected openly and published on lustre techniques. Alan Caiger-Smith’s book Lustre Pottery was solely the go to book.

Remember in the 9th century, a period in time when alchemy was the considered science. To make gold out of copper and silver, in alchemy terms sulphur was male and mercury female, are all important – the breath of life. Clay mixed with iron, copper and mercury, applied to a fired glaze and re-fired, created a gold surface. The medieval potter and historian Abu’l Qasim said, ‘That which has been evenly fired reflects like red gold and shines like the light of the sun.’

I will be presenting lustre work over 900 years, and how the place and time was important for the different centres to develop lustre. Persia, Valencia (Spain), Deruta (Italy), Gubbio (Italy), Lancashire (UK), Manises (Spain), Pec (Hungary).

Looking back how significant these centres and lustre wares were and are now.