Hans Coper (1920 – 1981) was born in Germany and moved to England in 1939. In 1946 Coper met Lucie Rie and began work at Albion Mews Pottery, which he continued to do until 1959, winning a gold medal at the Milan Trienniale in 1954. In 1958 he became a naturalised British subject, and the following year set up his own workshop in Digswell, Hertfordshire. In 1960 he started teaching at Camberwell School of Art and in 1966 at the Royal College of Art, having returned to London in 1963.  For the next sixteen years Coper exhibited extensively, mainly in London, but also in Tokyo, Holland and Hamburg. 

In 1967 he moved to Frome, Somerset, where he died in 1981.

Hans’ visionary experiments in form, such as those inspired by cycladic figures a prehistoric artform from the Greek islands, have earnt him a reputation as one of the most acclaimed ceramic artists of the 20th century. He was highly inventive and the breadth of his work, from figurative to abstract and from functional to sculptural, is a testament to this ingenuity.

Hans Coper’s work is to be found in numerous important public and private collections, and he is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.


1997      Barbican Art Gallery, London
1994      Metropolitan Museum, New York
1983-4  Hans Coper 1920 – 1981, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art & tour
1969      Victoria & Albert Museum, London
               Kettles Yard, Cambridge
               Robert Welch Gallery, Chipping Camden
1951      Festival of Britain
1950      Berkeley Galleries, London

Loan & image Courtesy Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts.