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The Past in the Present - Pottery by Elizabeth Raeburn and Rodney Lawrence

Saturday 27th May - Sunday 24th September 2017

The abbey ruins have provided an exciting starting point for an exhibition of ceramics by two Somerset potters. The work of Elizabeth Raeburn and Rodney Lawrence is well known and their beautifully crafted pottery has been widely exhibited and is in museums across the world. It is also owned and much loved by many private collectors.

This exhibition brings the people and landscape of the abbey to life, whether in the imagined past or the real present. The artists have drawn inspiration from the abbey’s past visitors, pilgrims and residents, in addition to many aspects of the abbey today: carvings and gargoyles, utensils in the Abbot’s kitchen, ponds, orchard, trees and herb garden.

Rodney uses both the wheel and hand-building techniques for his stoneware pottery to frame his quirky and often humorously illustrated pots. Elizabeth’s ‘raku’ fired pots and plaques represent the abbey in a changing landscape, using coloured slips and a delicate and painterly style.

Having both studied studio pottery at Harrow School of Art, Elizabeth and Rodney moved to Somerset in the mid-1970s, establishing a successful pottery at West Pennard, making individual pieces and domestic ware.

For the last 30 years Elizabeth has pioneered raku pottery with coloured slip. She slowly constructs and builds her vessels, rather than throwing them on a wheel. Each piece represents many hours of work and includes both a ‘biscuit’ and final firing. She uses a range of clays, slips, wax resists, glazes and firing techniques to achieve different surface textures.

Rodney’s wheel thrown pottery often combines humorous decoration with function. He has exhibited widely and undertakes numerous commissions, which are often for commemorative or celebratory purposes. His unique style is instantly recognisable and frequently entertaining.

Click here to see photos on our Photo Wall


We are committed to making the abbey and events held at the abbey accessible to everyone. We may provide disabled ticket holders (who would be unable to attend without a PA - personal assistant / carer / essential companion) with a ticket at no additional cost for their PA, if they are in receipt of one of the following:

  • Middle or Higher rate DLA for care and/or mobility
  • Receipt of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Evidence of being severely sight impaired
  • CredAbility Access Card (+1 category requirement), see
  • A recognised Assistance Dog ID Card

If you do not have any of the above evidence but are unable to attend the abbey without a PA you are welcome to post or email copies of any additional evidence that supports your application. Applications are judged on a case-by-case basis. Tickets for events are sold on a first come, first served basis.

If the event is organised by an external organisation, the above will not necessarily apply and you will need to liaise directly with the organisers. If you wish to contact the organisers please contact and we will put you in touch.

How to apply

Please call our shop on 01458 831631 and arrange to either show the relevant documents in person or to email or post copies.