Natural Histories: Cecil Baugh, Egyptian Blue (1992)

National Gallery of Jamaica Blog

The work of Cecil Baugh, Jamaica’s master potter, holds an important place in the history of Jamaican art. Though there is a long tradition of pottery in Jamaica dating back to the Taino, Baugh was the first to systematically explore pottery as fine art; researching and utilising local clays and forms extensively and developing a number of glazes such as Egyptian Blue shown here. As a young man, Baugh’s work consisted largely of traditional Jamaican pottery- yabbas and monkey jars- used for domestic purposes. He soon began to experiment with developing his own style. In his  book, Baugh: Jamaica’s Master Potter (1986)co-written with Laura Tanna, he writes:

I thought of glazes but the transparent lead glaze was the only one available. So I started off to experiment. None of the other traditional potters were making coloured glazes but I could see the imported pots were coloured and I thought…

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Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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