Henderson, Ewen

First name: 
J. E.
Year of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Great Brittain
Working period: 
Year of death: 

James Ewen Henderson was born in Staffordshire on January 3, 1934. He became interested in painting and sculpture and over a period of seven years spent working for a timber company in Cardiff, South Wales. He left Wales in 1964 to join a pre-diploma course at Goldsmith's College, London. He went on to study pottery under Hans Coper, Lucie Rie and Colin Pearson at the Camberwell School of Art in 1965, taking his diploma there in 1968. He then remained in London, teaching at Camberwell, Goldsmith's and the North London Collegiate School, whilst building up an international reputation as a potter. He took clay into a new expressiveness. He called clay "fluxed earth". He constructed his pots freely, which had more expressive potential. He built his pots in layers, using clay bodies into which bone china or porcelain might be laminated. The addition of stains and oxides created a rich colour. The result was almost volcanic. By the late 80s, Henderson's concerns were more sculptural, and he largely abandoned the vessel in favour of intricate open structures. Ewen and his wife Kay were living in Camden Town.

Ewen was internationally respected for his highly original constructions - vessels and other sculptural work, variously coloured and with richly textured surfaces. He was also a passionate painter - his watercolours, gouaches and collages increasingly inseparable from his concerns in clay. He died October 6, 2000.

Pictures: Ewen Henderson, portrait (source Moorwood Art); Henderson in his studio, 2x, ca. 1990 (source Galerie Besson); bowl (source MAAK Auction, London); sack form, ca. 1988 (source MAAK Auction, London); vessel, ca. 1990 (source MAAK Auction, London).

  • Whiting, David, 'A sculptor in clay - 'fluxed earth - from which he created monumental and original works', in: The Guardian, October 9, 2000.
  • Thormann, Olaf, Gefäss / Skulptur - Vessel / Sculpture; Keramik / Ceramics seit / since 1946, Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig, 2013.