Welcome to the Chambers of Wonder!

Welcome to the Chambers of Wonder!

A re-display of our Pilkington ceramics collection

The Chambers of Wonder project sought to rediscover unsung heroes of Pilkington’s past that deserve recognition, unearthing benchmarks of design history from this cornerstone of the art collection at Lancaster University. Digging deeper into the themes of women designers and potters, working life, colonial influences, and collection highlights, culminating in a new exhibition opening on the 24th April 2024.

Pilkington’s was a well-known art pottery manufacturer based in Manchester, operating between 1891 and 1938. As leading designers within the luxury market, their wares became known for their fashionable and ornate designs and they received a royal warrant from George V in 1913, becoming known as Royal Lancastrian Pottery and Tiles. 

Between 1994 and 2002, Mary Chambers bequeathed an extensive collection of Pilkington Tile and Pottery ceramics of significant cultural value. Bordering between the time periods of arts and crafts and arts nouveau, these fascinating works embody a multitude of stories and hidden histories. The collection contains not only artefacts, but illustrations, catalogues, artworks, photography and research materials. 

Lancaster Arts’ Chambers of Wonder project was supported by Museum Development North West, and provokes new insights into the history, science and hidden narratives of this nationally significant collection.  

To delve into these objects and the history that surrounds them, a series of workshops in 2023 and 2024 brought together local people to uncover these stories. Sharing with you their thoughts and selections from this remarkable collection and drawing attention to a variety of themes. These include the role of women at Pilkington’s, stylistic influences and questions of appropriation, working conditions, and technical processes. They have also selected their personal standout pieces from this cornerstone of the Peter Scott Gallery collection.

Join us for the opening of our Chambers Of Wonder on Wednesday 24th April at 5pm, as part of our season celebration event at the Peter Scott Gallery alongside the opening of our new Exhibition ‘Out Of Hours’ by artist Jose Garcia Olivia.