10 MAY 1924, Page 21


SCOTTISH POTTERY. By J. Arnold Fleming, O.B.E. (Glasgow : Maclehose, Jackson and Co. 25s. net.) SCOTTISH POTTERY. By J. Arnold Fleming, O.B.E. (Glasgow : Maclehose, Jackson and Co. 25s. net.)

This, the first book on Scottish pottery, calls for another one—one which shall be devoted exclusively to the early work that Mr. Fleming cursorily dismisses as crude. Such work as that manufactured in the sixteenth century at Calton, had it been developed upon, would have produced, in Scotland, a traditional pottery, powerful and aesthetic, instead of the slick and highly technical work which ulti- mately did evolve. This later work leaves one amazed at the rapidity with which the inexpert Scottish craftsmen, in a short space of time, mastered an intricate and meaningless technique as foreign to their national characteristics as it was, in most cases, to good taste. Only in its domestic ware did Scotland maintain any degree of aesthetic value or self- respect. Happily some modem potteries still manufacture domestic-ware in the old tradition. The examples of early " brown domestic ware " on Plate II. can bear comparison with some of the Chinese shapes of the best periods, while even in the worst Chinese work it would be difficult to find anything quite so bad, aesthetically, as the Verreville vases of the early nineteenth century (Plate XIII.). In fairness to the Scottish people it may be said that these latter shapes did not meet with approval, and were commercially unsuc- cessful. If this were due, as Mr. Fleming says, purely to economic instincts in the race, one can only be glad that, in this case, economy and art became satisfactorily co-related. The introductory chapters are written in an interesting manner, but the illustrations are arranged very haphazardly in relation to the text.