Alan Caiger-Smith MBE (1930 – 21 February 2020) was a British studio potter and writer on pottery.
Caiger-Smith was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and read history at King's College, Cambridge (1949-1952). He trained in pottery at the Central School of Art & Design in 1954 under Dora Billington.
According to Grove Art, Alan Caiger-Smith established the Aldermaston Pottery in 1955, "a cooperative workshop of about seven potters making functional domestic ware and tiles, as well as individual commissions and one-off pots. By trial and error he revived and perfected two virtually lost techniques: the use of tin glaze and painted pigments on red earthenware clay, and the firing of lustres on to tin glazes." However, "virtually lost" is questionable: in his Lustre Pottery, Caiger-Smith himself covers relatively recent revivals of lustreware by William De Morgan, Vilmos Zsolnay, Clément Massier and Pilkington's Royal Lancastrian Pottery. In particular his researches "reconstructed the medieval Islamic lustreware technique".
He was joined at Aldermaston Pottery by a number of other potters, including Geoffrey Eastop (1921–2014).
Alan Caiger-Smith's book on Tin-Glaze Pottery (1973) covers its history and much of its technique. He co-translated and annotated with R.W. Lightbown a detailed contemporary description of the materials and methods of Renaissance maiolica, Cipriano Piccolpasso's I Tre Libre Dell'Arte Del Vasaio (The Three Books of the Potter’s Art) (1980). His history of lustre ware, Lustre Pottery, was published in 1985.
Caiger-Smith was Chairman of the British Crafts Centre (1973–1978) and was awarded the MBE in 1988. He ceased employing assistants in 1993 to concentrate on personal work and in 2006 announced his decision to sell the Aldermaston Pottery.
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