Exporting Beauty: Pilkington's Pottery and Tiles

 Pilkingtons lustre vesselPilkingtons lustre vesselsPilkingtons lustre bowlPilkingtons, ceramic lions

John Siddique reads his poem Lustre, which was inspired by pottery from the exhibition.

Commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Literature Festival October 2010. Film by Maria Gabriella Ruban, Little star Media Productions Ltd.


Gold, silver and copper as reflection and as light.
Symbols of the dream life, the good life, as myth.

To never dim as the hands of day pass on into time.

A question for beauty, are you truth? Are you home?
Earth formed into a vase, a vessel for the spirit.

The art of beauty - I shine for you to catch your eye,
to wake your soul, with cupped hands which
close around the hands of day.

Transmute the colours of elements.
Place copper against red.
Place gold against blue.
Take fire from the wet earth.
Burn a butterfly in brightness.

The artist as alchemist, breathing soul into clay,
shaping love and beauty, learn them with your hands.
Learning how to live them, day after day.

Heat and time brings the colour,
to know beauty is to know their gift.
Place a vessel of spirit into their hands to become
undimmed against the fading,
against the closing of the day.

© John Siddique 2010

Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer

Ford Madox Brown, The Irish Girl, detail
This autumn, Manchester Art Gallery stages the first major exhibition of Ford Madox Brown’s work since 1964.