The Precious Clay

Porcelain in Contemporary Art


20 September 2018 to 20 March 2019

Museum of Royal Worcester

With additional work by Laura White from 8 January to 10 February 2019, Worcester Cathedral and an artist's performance by Emily Speed, with The Ring, on 11 August 2018

Meadow Arts and the Museum of Royal Worcester present an exhibition exploring contemporary art and porcelain, The Precious Clay. The exhibition will examine why and how artists choose to use this legendary material in their practice. With its origins in the Far East and a long global history, porcelain holds rich associations of preciousness, mutability and exoticism: the artists’ work responds to these associations in lively and inventive ways.

With new commissions by Laura White and Emily Speed shown alongside work by artists including Bouke de Vries, Edward Chell, Mona Hatoum, Jessica Harrison, Barnaby Barford, Céline Berger, Rosa Nguyen and more big names to be released, the exhibition is an opportunity to see the museum’s newly displayed world-class collection through the eyes and imaginations of contemporary artists.

Porcelain is a complex substance that requires skill, practice and an intimate making process. Laura White’s newly commissioned piece will explore this physicality, through a collection of porcelain objects that occupy and explore their own materiality – exposing the elemental material behaviour of this extraordinary 'white matter'. Meanwhile, Emily Speed will be responding to the museum’s globally important collections to create a performance artwork, Hollowware, drawing in the connections to the waterways that supplied materials and distribution networks for the Museum of Royal Worcester factory. Speed’s work is being produced for The Ring, a Canal & River Trust ‘Arts on the Waterways’ project in 2018.

The exhibition will unfold throughout the museum, introducing contemporary work into the displays where the newly renovated Museum’s collection is presented, as well as in the special exhibitions room.

In addition, work from Laura White’s, Esque collection will be exhibited in the evocative setting of the Dean’s Chapel of Worcester Cathedral in January 2019 and there will be exciting workshops, including an opportunity for local groups and visitors to help create a collaborative artwork that will form part of The Precious Clay exhibition. The programme will also include a symposium bringing together academics and artists for a day of discussion and learning.


20 Sept 2018 – 20 Mar 2019: Museum of Royal Worcester

Severn St, Worcester WR1 2ND

11 Aug 2018: Emily Speed - Hollowware performance

Museum of Royal Worcester and Diglis Basin

8 January to 10 February 2019: Worcester Cathedral

8 College Yard Worcester WR1 2LA




Museum of Royal Worcester
Severn St
01905 21247

Museum of Royal Worcester logo

8 January - 10 February 2019

Additional work by Laura White at:

Worcester Cathedral

8 College Yard





2018 Museum Admission Prices:

Adult £6.50

Concession £5.50

15 & under FREE

There is no additional addmission charge for the Meadow Arts exhibition