Deirdre Burnett

Getting to Know:

Deirdre Burnett

1939 - 2022

Read More

Interested in Selling?

Request a valuation

Deirdre Burnett was born in Simla, India in 1939 and came to England in 1947. Estranged from her regimental army family, she studied sculpture at St. Martins School of Art but then took a BA in ceramics at Camberwell School of Art and decided that she would dedicate herself to work in ceramics.  At Camberwell, she had been heavily influenced by her lecturers, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper and whilst some have compared her work to that of Lucie Rie she also developed a style of her own.

After graduating in 1967, she set up her own pottery in Dulwich.  At first her output was mainly tableware, turning out endless plates, saucers and mugs for London restaurants – a process which provided income and taught her a lot about technique.  As ideas evolved and budgets improved, she began creating vessels or ceramic sculpture with forms mostly thrown and pinched. 

During the 1970s and 80s, work took the form of delicate porcelain vessels inspired by her love of flora and fauna and this era marked the beginning of her solo exhibitions, both in the UK and abroad – including those in America, Germany and New Zealand.

In the decades that followed, Burnett’s work evolved into the use of stoneware with volcanic glazes created using oxides or materials in the body of the clay that develop during the firing process at around 1280 degrees Celsius – a method which requires a huge amount of skill.

In 1990 Deirdre Burnett’s work was featured as part of the exhibition titled ‘Lucie Rie, Hans Coper & their pupils’, with various exhibitions to follow throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s - including a joint show with Ashraf Hanna in 2006 and works featured in the ‘Designing Modern Women’ exhibition held in 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Works by Deirdre Burnett have been held in public institutions worldwide, including MOMA New York, V&A London, Auckland Museum New Zealand, Waikato Art Museum New Zealand, Perth Museum Australia, Het Princesshof Museum and Museum Boymans van Bonningen of Holland, and others.

Astoundingly, Deirdre’s work has never really attracted much attention from the auction world and despite the tidal wave of interest in studio pottery, her work remains very affordable.

Jo Lloyd, head of Roseberys' Decorative Art Department says: “When you consider the sums being achieved at auction by artists such Rie and Coper, it really is incredible to think that pottery of this standard is commanding so little. But I feel it is only a matter of time before Deirdre Burnett’s work is recognised in the wider realm and that’s when investing in these pieces now, will be seen as a canny purchase.”  

In her last few years, Deirdre embraced modern methods of showcasing her work and had her own Instagram account.  Her rather modest profile simply reads:

London based ceramic artist.  Inspired by growth in Nature.  Working in porcelain and clay, using heat control to capture volcanic, reactive glazes.

Newsletter Signup

Keyword Alerts