James Hart. The Early Years.

James Hart trained at the Bath Academy of Arts in Corsham and by the early 60’s was teaching art and ceramics at Beyton Modern School in Suffolk. Sometime in 1964  a colleague took  in a model house made in the  1920’s by ‘Goss’  and challenged Mr. Hart that he couldn’t make one like it. He made a model, then a mould, and made 50 of them. They were well received and most of them were bought by fellow teachers.

By 1965 Mr. Hart was living in a  cottage called “Mudlen End” when he gave up teaching and became a full time potter, ( By this time he had 3 children so this would have been a giant leap of faith, and a very big decision to make.) Although he did run art evening classes in Bury St. Edmunds and at Beyton School.

He put the remaining of the 50 houses that he had made in his showroom, ( the caravan shown below), and these were eagerly bought by a group of American visitors. More visitors arrived asking if he had any more and that prompted Mr. Hart to begin to produce some along with his other work. It seemed, as is quoted “As good a reason as any to make them.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Quite a “busy” workshop.

This is a photo of James Hart in his workshop at Mudlen End  early -mid 70’s. It is a little cramped, to say the least. The plaster moulds are layed out to dry and cottages are in boxes.  There were 3 operating kilns in this little shed ! The soldering iron hanging on the side of the kiln was part of his ‘kiln switching on ‘ device.(I shall explain later).

There is a sheep model on the shelving at the back(with a black head) and on the extreme right of the picture , a church.

The workshop was so small this shot could only have been taken by the photographer leaning through the window from the outside !
In the early days Mr.Hart used to sell his wares from a fairground caravan which was sited by the road to attract attention.He made mugs and bowls as well as Shire Horses,pew groups and candleholders,and of course cottages.

nice colour photo.
nice colour photo.


Mr.Hart modeling a shire horse.
Mr.Hart modeling a shire horse.

Shire Horses became a staple of Mr.Harts early work and he produced them in many styles but all in the same standing stance.

Shire Horse
Magnificent Armoured Shire Horse

On the 27th of December,1967  Mr.Hart appeared on the popular BBC children’s show ‘Vision On’. The theme of that show was animals and Mr.Hart was shown modeling a shire horse.

The model below was auctioned on-line and looks to be a very early piece.

Early horse


One thought on “James Hart. The Early Years.”

  1. How lovely to see this web and a bit of history of James. It brings back many fond memories as a kid playing around in the potters shed and ‘acquiring’ some of the broken or imperfect houses! I always found the rows of finished and unfinished houses fascinating as a kid and now at 46 have become a bit of a collector! I have seen them when I was working in peoples houses in Salisbury and a charity shop in Ringwood – they are so recognisable and for me so desirable!

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