(LEACH POTTERY 1942 - 1943)
Born Lincoln (1920), he attended Lincoln School of Art from the age of 14. He was awarded the Gibney Scholarship, which enabled him to 'devote his time to the cultivation of art'. He undertook apprenticeship training at Wedgwood, Stoke-on-Trent, attending Burslem School of Art for additional studies. He worked at Winchcombe Pottery in 1941 until it closed in June 1942, taking charge for a period in the absence of Ray Finch and Michael CARDEW.
In 1942 he moved to the Leach Pottery where he was part of the team along with Dick Kendal and Margaret Leach, and Leach's main thrower until 1943. There he met many visitors coming to see Leach, and he found a special friend in Dicon NANCE, who ran a craft workshop on the wharf at St Ives.
From 1943 he was Lecturer in Pottery at Lincoln School of Art, teaching sculpture and pottery, remaining there until 1967 when he resigned from his teaching post. He had three children under the age of ten. He set up his own pottery with a gallery showroom in Reepham, Lincolnshire, and his wife Marjorie managed the business and the sales. In 1990 he officially retired, but carried on working, sculpting and drawing, until his death.
As an artist and tutor, Robert was uncompromising, totally consistent in his judgment, and much respected by his students. His aim was to produce pottery that was functional with aesthetic appeal, using colours that are natural to clay and reflect nature. His sense of form and design were unerring, and his influence on those he instructed profound (Digital Museum).
Whybrow comments that 'many of Robert's pots were unsigned as he believed, as Hamada did, that a good pot spoke for itself regardless of the maker.'
1998: Retrospective, Usher Gallery, Lincoln
2009: Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
2012: Usher Gallery (showcase display)
2020/2021: Century of Connections, The Leach Pottery, St Ives
Blatherwick, S L (2014) Archaeology of the House, Site. Object. Context.
Interpreting a Collection: A Study of the Life and Work of Robert Louis Blatherwick (1920-1993)
Whybrow (2006) Leach Pottery St Ives, The Legacy of Bernard Leach (pp110-11, likeness & illus)
The Digital Museum of Cornish Ceramics: www.cornishceramics.com 2004