The Crafts Council Collection began in 1972, a year after the Crafts Council (then the Crafts Advisory Committee) was established.
The first objects acquired for the Collection date from the time of the British Potters' Exhibition, when pieces by such potters as Bernard Leach, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie were purchased. The Crafts Council continues to acquire work annually and currently has over 1400 objects spanning all the main media including: ceramics, glass, metal, jewellery, furniture, textiles, wood, baskets, automata, calligraphy, lettering and bookbinding. The Collection now embraces new technologies and digital developments in making, seen in the work of Michael Eden, Drummond Masterton and Geoffrey Mann.
The Crafts Council accepts the definition of craft in its widest sense, from its interface with cutting edge design on the one hand, to its crossover with fine art on the other. Work is rarely purchased retrospectively, although a leeway of five years does exist. The Collection is not constituted as a survey but a snapshot that reflects a wide and lively spectrum of activity in contemporary craft.
The Crafts Council continues to acquire new work for the Collection governed by the criteria set out in our Acquisition Policy. All acquisitions of new work are based on proposals put forward to the Crafts Council by a network of specialist advisors who engage in making, teaching and writing and teaching craft. The Crafts Council's purchase fund has remained the same for the past 15 years, but purchases have been made possible with generous support from the Art Fund and Crafts Council Patrons .
You can read more about the behind the scenes management of the Collection and browse the Crafts Council Collection using our two image libraries:
- Photostore presents work made between 1971 to 1999;
- A pdf with a list of works acquired from 2000 to present.