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Fishley Holland

George Fishley established the first pottery in Fremington, North Devon in around 1800. He was succeeded by his son, Edmund, in 1839. Edmund ran the pottery until 1865, when his son, Edwin Beer Fishley, took over.

Edwin Beer Fishley was a hugely influential potter and was described by Bernard Leach as the last of the English peasant potters. His pieces were used as examples of traditional English pottery for Leach’s students; some items are held in the V&A Museum’s permanent collection.

Edwin was joined by his grandson, William Fishley Holland (Senior), in 1902, and continued at the family pottery until 1912, when Edwin died and the pottery was sold.

William (Senior) was allowed to build and run a pottery in Braunton for Mr Hooper. It was in 1920 at the Braunton Pottery that a young Michael Cardew would learn how to throw pots and other basic skills, which he would put to use when he joined the Leach Pottery at St. Ives a year later.

In 1921 the Braunton Pottery closed as Mr Hooper went bankrupt. William (Senior) moved to Clevedon and after another short-lived venture at the Sunflower Pottery, he was able to buy some land and establish his own business, which he called the Clevedon Pottery.

William (Senior) was joined at the Clevedon Pottery by numerous members of his family, including Isabel Fishley Holland (1929 – 1942), George Tonkin Holland (1929 – 1959), William Fishley Holland (Junior) (1959 – 1978), and Peter Fishley Holland (1968 – 1978).

George Tonkin Holland left in 1959 to form the Dunster Pottery in Clevedon, Somerset. Many of his items are similar in style to those from his days at the Clevedon Pottery but in addition to his signature, he added the word ‘Dunster’.

The Clevedon Pottery closed in the late 1970s.

Peter Fishley Holland moved to Jedburgh, Scotland, and potted until around 1988. After a two-decade hiatus, he moved to East Sussex with his daughter, Claire, and began potting again. Peter’s latest pieces can be found at Paper Thin Moon.

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