Potted History is a family-run business made up of a father and daughter team; Graham and Sarah create museum-quality ceramic replicas that span the Paleolithic to the medieval and beyond.
For over 25 years, they have hand-crafted replicas for some of the world's most prestigious museums, universities and heritage sites. But they aim to make museum-quality replicas available to everyone and have sent pieces to private collectors worldwide because you should be able to enjoy the pots of history from the comfort of your home.
By utilising hand-crafting methods and tools that replicate the techniques and technology of past potters, they always aspire to capture an authenticity that is not just surface deep; each pot needs to be authentic to the core. Accuracy is so important that they often have to make an entire tool kit before they even get their hands on the clay, but this true dedication to the history of each piece ensures their replicas look and feel like the real deal.
Even their grit has to get the seal of authenticity before it is added to the clay, so if you are unlucky enough to break a Potted History piece, it will even break like an original.
From our studio in the beautiful historic town of Rothbury, Northumberland, the Potted History team work with museums such as The British Museum, The Ashmolean, The Great North Museum, Stonehenge Visitors Center and Vindolanda Roman Fort, to name a few.
They also aim to share their knowledge far and wide and regularly work with Universities in the UK and USA, running workshops, creating replicas and advising on research projects. Knowledge and understanding grow best when experts collaborate and share, and Potted History is proud to be helping to expand our global understanding of world history.
A hugely important part of Potted History is ensuring that every history lover, whether experts or amateurs aspiring to be experts, can access high-quality replicas that would look at home in a museum display case.
Meet the team
Master potter Graham Taylor and his daughter Sarah Lord make up the main creative force behind the Potted History team, but they couldn't do what they do without the help of workshop assistant Judie Freeman and admin assistant Clare Lamy (also Graham's daughter).
When I handle an ancient pot, it is like shaking hands with the original potter. A handshake across thousands of years! I can feel the impressions made by their thumbs, the pressure of their fingers pushing the wet clay into the palm of the hand to swell out the belly of the pot, and the sweep of a tool to decorate the surface. All these movements are like frozen, or possibly more correctly, fired moments in time, preserved and waiting for me to decode. When I come to emulate their actions and re-create one of these prehistoric masterpieces, I get to know the potter a little better. A conversation takes place … “Oh I see why you did that” ….”What did you use to make that mark?”.........”Now that’s clever, decorating it like that”. The conversation may seem one sided, but the answers come back to me from the clay. Above all, the act of making a piece gives me a deep sense of respect for a fellow craftsperson.
As Graham's daughter, I was brought up around clay. For many years my parents ran a pottery studio in Kolonyama, Lesotho. I had the privilege of watching and learning from some of the most skilled craftspeople, and if I was very lucky, they sometimes let me help. This generosity shown to a curious little girl helped inspire in me a genuine love of clay. There is something deeply satisfying about taking clay, which is essentially mud, and transforming it into something beautiful, which people have been doing for thousands of years. It makes me proud to know that I am not only keeping up the family tradition of pottery but also representing the unnamed potters of the past by recreating some of their finest work and making it available to a new audience. I am leaving my mark and fingerprints in clay for future generations, just as ancient potters left theirs.
Judie has worked with Potted History for several years and, as the workshop assistant, does various jobs to help keep the workshop running smoothly, including the odd impromptu yoga lesson because Judie is a fully qualified and practising yoga teacher with Judali Yoga.
Although Clare lives on the other side of the country, she has recently started working with us via the wonders of modern technology. Her keen attention to detail is helping us stay organised and ensure that your commission requests are dealt with. Clare is also a hard-working midwife with the NHS who fits her work with us around her midwifing and her family.