Nicholas Lees


For every single year of his life artist Nicholas Lees has returned to the same coastal location in Scotland. Initially uncertain of the influence of this astoundingly beautiful place on his work, Nicholas has recently come to realise that there is a profound connection to do with repetition & change. He believes that to continually experience the same place and to achieve deep knowledge of it, is to see that it always changes and is never perceived as the same despite the deep sense of familiarity and continuity. The light never exactly replicates but is constantly shifting. This is particularly apparent when viewing Nicholas’ work, new structures within the existing shapes appear to emerge as the movement of light goes across the forms and yet the sculpture itself has remained unchanged.


At first glance Nicholas’ fine porcelain sculptures appear so perfect it is almost impossible to believe that they are made by hand. However, each of his sculptures are started as massively thick-walled vessels hand thrown on the potter’s wheel.  The vessels are then taken to a lathe when the clay is leather hard and are carefully turned to perfection by hand – a process that involves huge risks and requires an enormous amount of patience, not to mention skill.  Talking about his work Nicholas said: “I interrogate the relationship between what is solid and material and what is numinous and ephemeral. The works explore the uncertainty that rests within boundaries and across thresholds. This uncertainty is key to my enquiry; how to realise the physical and spatial representation of the blurred and uncertain edge – the penumbra of material. Within this body of work this edge can be seen and felt through cast shadows, within the certainty of materiality. The presence of the object on the surface is floating and shifting according to perception.” NL


Nicholas’ work has been exhibited widely in the UK and overseas and is held in private and public collections including:

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

York City Art Gallery, York
Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany
Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Faenza, Italy
Auckland Museum, Auckland, New Zealand


He has won several awards including the Cersaie Prize at the Premio Faenza (Italy) in 2015, the National Sculpture Award at the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool in 2010 and the Desmond Preston Prize for Excellence in Drawing at the RCA in 2012.


He works as a visiting lecturer on postgraduate courses at the RCA, UCA Farnham and Bath Spa University.


See Our Feature on NicHolas Lees


Our Interview with Nicholas Lees


See NicHolas Lees in Our Collecting Craft Feature