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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Joshua Aubrook

 Joshua Aubrook is a ceramicist based in medieval London, the epicentres of which being Southwark Cathedral, the Charterhouse, and the halls of St Mark’s of Spencer. Aubrook was born near a crossroad, his father was most likely a centaur, and his treasured possession is a signed copy of the Summa Theologiae, ‘Hang in there - Thomas Aquinas x.’ Aubrook’s mission is to use his creative practise, the most noble art of sculpture, to explore and respond to both medieval and modern Christian theological concepts, often concerning the themes of eschatology and paradise. Aubrook’s art seeks to educate his audience about the modern relevance of the creative and cultural revolutions of the Northern Renaissance; to celebrate the similarities between the medieval Ecclesiastical and modern Pop Art styles; and, following the Vitriacus style of the ‘Christian Wonderous,’ exploring how the search for religious faith and truth through art both meshes and clashes with a Postmodern world.

 Aubrook holds a BA (Hons) Degree in Ceramics form the University for the Creative Arts.

 Aubrook was shortlisted for the Wales Contemporary Awards, 2022, and has most recently exhibited through Bonhams in the Art of Craft auction, 2023. 

Joshua Aubrook stood next to an unfinished version of the Lekkerland Fire, head turned in profile to feature his majestic nose.

Aubrook is looking for Paradise.

 Raised as a fundamental Christian and educated at a Cathedral school, the subjects of religious paradise and utopia have engaged Aubrook throughout his career. Aubrook identifies as a symbolist ceramicist, using allegory, metaphor and historic borrowing to champion idealism over realism as a method of understanding faith and seeking truth. Aubrook views truth as a process, as something to be worked through and revised. His artwork connects the mastication of truth with the poems of Emily Dickinson - ‘tell it slant’ – and the use of repetition within Pop Art to work, rework, rethink and meditate on meaning. To address Christian theology directly is to be reductive, and risk misinterpreting the rich complexity and nuance of truth.

 During his study at the Royal College of Art, Aubrook encountered the tales of Cockaigne, a medieval European utopia which lay separate from its contemporary Christian principles. Inspired by this historic example of fictioning a moral dreamland to explore contemporary narratives, avoiding theocratic confrontation, Aubrook began the Lekkerland project. Through the creation of ceramic artefacts, installations and tableaus as extensions of the canon of Lekkerland, Aubrook can engage with modern and medieval Christian theology within a creative framework that enables truth to exist on alternative levels, separate from fact. For Aubrook, moral and spiritual meaning is at least as important as descriptive accuracy. Cartooning a message eases dissemination.

For articulation, Aubrook’s ceramic practise is an exploration of material language. Aubrook views his art as a construction from atoms, building the smallest elements of matter into fluid clays and homogeneous sculpture. There is a control to mixing glaze chemicals, transforming one material into another through the heat of a kiln, seeing all things as crouching in anticipation for transmutation and echoing the ‘Christian Wonder’ of Augustine of Hippo and Vincent of Beauvais.

Paradise cannot be found, it has to be made.

Seven tongued gold gilded flame sculpture with Sky Flowers overhanging
Seven tongued gold gilded flame sculpture with Flowerstones and Sky Flowers

“I have gone beyond sequential history [praeter historiae seriem] in including the preceding material in the present work. If by chance it appears incredible to some, I do not compel anyone to believe it; let everyone follow their own judgement. However, I do not consider that there is any danger in believing things that are not in opposition to the faith.”

An excerpt from James of Vitry’s [Jacobus de Vitriaco] Historia Iherosolimitana, circa 1220. 


Stoneware, glaze and gold leaf


Height 135 cm, length 155 cm and width 90 cm
Seven tongued gold gilded Fire sculpture, Lekkerland - Fire
detail of the top of the gold gilded flames, Lekkerland - Fire
“Tell all the truth but tell it slant, Success in circuit lies” - excerpt from ‘Tell the truth but tell it slant’ by Emily Dickinson, circa 1860
Detail of Lekkerland - Fire
“The truth must dazzle gradually, Or every man be blind” -excerpt from ‘Tell the truth but tell it slant’ by Emily Dickinson, circa 1860
Detail picture of a central tongue of flame from Lekkerland - Fire


23.50 carat gilded stoneware


H 136 cm, l 155 cm, w 90 cm
Blue and pink wall mounted ceramic flowers
Blue and pink wall mounted ceramic flowers
Blue and pink wall mounted ceramic flowers
Blue and pink wall mounted ceramic flowers


Glazed white earthenware


H 6 cm, w 40 cm, l 40 cm to h 4 cm, w 40 cm, l 40 cm
dark blue, light blue and maroon glazed flower stones
dark blue, light blue and maroon glazed flower stones
Lekkerland Flames, gilded, surrounded by Flowerstones

Earthly Paradise

“But rather, when aweary of your mirth,

From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh,

And, feeling kindly unto all the earth,

Grudge every minute as it passes by,

Made the more mindful that the sweet days die –

– Remember me a little then I pray,

The idle singer of an empty day.” 

 A verse from The Earthly Paradise by William Morris, 1896


Glazed earthenware


H 26 cm, l 30 cm, w 18cm to h 3 cm, l 9 cm, w 6 cm