William Ruscoe
Painter and artist in ceramics

William Ruscoe 1904–1990
William Ruscoe was born at Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England on June 20th 1904, the son of William Ruscoe, potter. After studying art at Stoke-on-Trent under Gordon M. Forsyth he worked as an assistant at Burslem School of Art (1938–1942), serving as tutor in the practical side of pottery at the Royal College of Art, London (1939–1940). He then became master-in-charge at Stoke School of Art (1942–1944). He married Olga Stanley Harris and the couple moved to Devon in 1944, where Ruscoe took up a post as assistant master under William Green, A.R.C.A. at the Exeter School of Art to teach drawing and painting and to set up the Ceramics Department. He worked at the college for twenty-five years until his retirement in 1969.

Inspired by salt-glazed stoneware pew groups of the eighteenth century, he brought the art of making rolled clay figures to a new level of skill and subtlety. His keen interest in glazing techniques led to the creation of some wonderful and colourful finishes to his pottery.

He died at Exeter on September 11th, 1990.

Publications by William Ruscoe
English Porcelain Figures, 1744 to 1848,  John A. Tiranti Ltd., London, 1947
A Manual for the Potter, Alec Tiranti Ltd., London, 1948, 1963, other editions: Transatlantic Arts, 1948, Charles T. Banford, Newton Abbot, 1959, Academy Editions/St Martin’s Press, 1973, 1978
Glazes for the Potter, Academy Editions/St Martin’s Press, 1974
Sculpture for the Potter, Academy Editions/St Martin’s Press, 1975

Exhibitions featuring works by William Ruscoe (not yet complete)

  • New York: Exhibition of Figurines, 1937
  • Exeter: Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery: Exhibition of Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture and Craft Work by members of the Exeter School of Art Staff, 27 June–29 July 1950
  • Plymouth: Ceramics (one-man show): Civic Centre, 1964
  • Stafford: Stafford Art Gallery and Museum: Paintings and Ceramics (one-man show), 1966
  • Exeter: Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (called Exeter Museum on the exhibition leaflet): Retrospective exhibition: William Ruscoe (marking his retirement from the College of Art), 16 April–17 May 1969

Work in public collections

Work in private collections
His work features in private collections in the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand and elsewhere.

  • Vase (signed W. Ruscoe), c. 1950 Private collection
  • Small pot (signed William Ruscoe, 1966) Private collection
  • Clown, unsigned, late 1950s Private collection
  • The Nativity (stamped Wm Ruscoe, England) Private collection
  • Dish (signed and dated William Ruscoe 1954) Private collection
  • Mother and Child (signed underneath base William Ruscoe, no date) Private collection

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