Rye Pottery & Canterbury Cathedral go way back …

Rye Pottery_Chaucer's Canterbury Tales_Ceramic Figure_Wife_of_Bath - Gift

The Wife of Bath

Here at Rye Pottery we have a special interest in the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to whom we send our very best wishes. We’ve supplied the shop at Canterbury Cathedral with our ceramic figures and tiles based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for more years than some of us like to remember!We also produce a special tile of the Thomas a’ Beckett Tomb for the Cathedral.

But what some of our collectors may not know, is that Rye Pottery’s figures from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were born from a request by Canterbury Cathedral for its gift shop in the early 1970s.

Mr Steele who launched the shop, introduced us to sculptor and painter Gordon Davies and suggested we should work together to produce something featuring one of the pilgrims – The Wife of Bath. Discussions and then work ensued, and lo the Wife become the very first in a what is now a series of 38 ceramic figures based on Chaucer’s Pilgrims. And the rest as they say is history!

Gordon went on to design our Rye Nativity too and in the year 2000, then Archbishop George Carey took a complete set of the Rye Nativity to Jerusalem as a gift to mark his Millennium visit.  We recently heard from a Rye Pottery collector who had seen it on display out there but sadly his camera had failed him at the crucial moment.

So we’ll always be grateful to Canterbury Cathedral and its inhabitants, not least to Mr Steele for introducing us to Gordon, who did a great deal of wonderful work at Canterbury over the years, as well for us here at Rye.

Click here to take a look at the full range of Rye Pottery figures based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales 

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Exciting, nay award-winning, news from Crufts

Willie Wicking & HarveyCongratulations to our paintress Karen Wicking who’s become the proud wife and mother to an award-winning duo at Crufts! Karen is one of the brilliant paintresses who hand-decorates our figures, not least our animals and the recently returned Rye Pottery Hounds!

Karen’s husband Willie and the family’s 4 year-old Labrador Harvey scooped top prize in the the first ever BASC Chudleys Invitation Scurry at Crufts, after clocking up the fastest time in their class.

For the uninitiated, a Scurry is a time event for Gundogs and their handlers where the animal has to retrieve a hidden object as fast as possible. To make it even harder, the object itself is hidden and various distractions are then deployed to put the poor dog off the task in hand.

Organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC)14 dogs were competing, but fortunately there was no distracting Harvey or Willie and they secured the top slot.

"Rye Pottery" Hounds Crufts Winner

Karen paints, among other things, our Rye Pottery Hounds

The pair are regulars on the Scurry circuit in Kent and Sussex – often winning we might add – and also competed in the Mitsubishi Motors World Series Gundog Championships in 2012. More than that, Karen and Willie’s 14-year-old daughter Alisha has amassed over 90 Rosettes working with Harvey at a host of country shows and fairs.

And it’s all the more impressive when you know that Harvey is the first dog either Willie or Alisha have ever owned or trained, and Karen says that if it hadn’t been for Alisha, who begged them to get a dog in the first place, none of this would have ever happened.

Next stop is a Cabinet to display all those trophies and Alisha’s Rosettes.

Well, after they’ve fulfilled all their media commitments that is, not least in the latest issue of the The Rye and Battle Observer (click here for more).

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