Wedgwood and Artists: The Green Man Plate

Wedgwood and Artists: The Green Man Plate

Art Fund has helped museums and galleries across the UK to buy great works of art since 1903. 

In 1989 and 1990, Art Fund commissioned contemporary artists to design a collection of plates. Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Patrick Heron, Bruce McLean, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, and John Piper created plate designs for Wedgwood. This plate features a recurrent image in Piper’s work, the foliate head of The Green Man - a robustly pagan figure from English folklore.

A great topographical artist, Piper painted Britain’s churches, chapels, houses and gardens. He was also known for creating stage sets for several Benjamin Britten operas and designs for stained glass windows and tapestries, as well as many ceramics. Piper found the inspiration for this image of the Green Man head on medieval church roof bosses and column capitals.

Piper’s partnership with Wedgwood demonstrates how an artist’s vision can be translated into a ceramic piece. The bold brushwork retains its vigour from a distance but, closer, has an added delicacy through the many dots created by the silk-screen printing process.