A Potted History of the Rye Potteries.

                          No. 1. The David Sharp Pottery

David Sharp started work as an apprentice with Rye Pottery just after the War. He worked with Raymond Everett and Dennis Townsend, all who later branched out on their own.

David became partners with a local man, George Gray and in 1956 they formed Cinque Port Pottery. The partnership split, quite amicably in 1964. David went his own way, opening the David Sharp Pottery that same year. It was not until the late sixties that it really began to flourish. David’s animal figures became as well known as the wall plaques for which he was to become so famous. The plaques are still produced by son Ben and shipped around the world today.

By the mid-1970’s David Sharp’s animals had become very popular and in 1974 he was commissioned by the chemical company Bayer, to make a sheep for them to give to their farming customers. He repeated this production, with a different animal, for several years. In the late seventies he produced a toby jug of a fisherman for the RNLI but it never went into production. It led however to his producing a series of ‘Buccaneers of Britain’ which are now highly prized.

By the early 1990’s the pottery was producing mainly individual studio pieces and David Sharp produced some of his best work during this period. His death in 1993 was a great shock to his family and many friends. The pottery was continued by his wife Dorothy and son Ben following his death and the new works by Ben Sharp are becoming sought after by enthusiastic collectors.

Ben Sharp is a potter of great standing, not frightened of experimenting with new glazes and methods. His knowledge of local pottery and its history is extensive, he is a member of the Rye Pottery Society and speaks to packed houses when giving talks and lectures.

The David Sharp Pottery is in good hands and continues to thrive in the 21st. Century. Long may it so do.

From “Rye’s Own” July 2004

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