The author has had access to a vast range of source material, but has managed to suspend his critical faculties in this detailed review of Bernard Leach. The title is a misnomer - this book rarely considers Leach's work. Barely 20 items are illustrated in the colour plates, and these are barely mentioned (and not properly referenced) in the text. In contrast there are over 30 pages of source material references (in very small print) at the back of the book, and reading is hampered by incessant numerical references to this section in the text.
More frustrating are the early pictures of Leach in Japan, pictured against a display of his pots, yet this work is barely referenced and rarely discussed. If Leach's dictum was in the pot you know the man - well here we barely see the pot!. Leach's tom-cat behaviour is coyly described, and yet the book only leaps to life when it describes the mercurial Janet in the death-throes of the Leach pottery. What a book it could have been - but it needed a writer not an academic.
Instead the life is glossed - and the work is lost
Bernard Leach was undoubtedly the father of modern studio pottery. This well written biography is both entertaining and informative, giving a real insight into the man and his work. Many might see this is highly specialised and narrow. Whilst I primarily bought this because I am an amatuer potter, I was delighted to find that it was also a very, very good book in its own right.