Richard Godfrey

Richard GodfreyHe’s always been a part of the pottery ‘scene’ as I know it, at my first Rufford show, when I was barely started, he bounced up and enthused about my slipware and was very complimentary. He had time for everyone, no matter who you were. He always smiled and spoke, his love of pots and clay and of people and fun and of life was blatantly obvious and required no searching for.

Potters I feel have a tendency to make pots that reflect themselves in some way and Richard’s more than any did this so well. No one else could have made his pots. They are bright beasts, immaculately made, vibrant and smiling.

Richard Godfrey teapotsAlways smiling, I don’t know if I ever saw him not smiling. Even after his diagnosis of cancer two years ago and after what must have been a horrid operation that left him in pain and with speech being difficult, he still smiled on. Even just six weeks or so ago at the Oxford show, still smiling, now obviously tired and hurting but still smiling and still with time for other people.

At the funeral yesterday, the church packed so tightly you couldn’t have slipped another one in, the aisles packed, people stood in the kitchen and virtually into the vestry, 500 plus come to send him home. One of his boys spoke of how Richard was completely comfortable with himself.  I think that for me explained so much, a man who was just so able to be himself. Hymns sung with gusto and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ sung with a feeling I don’t think I’ll hear again.

Richard Godfrey sculpture

In Minnesota a couple of years ago I met some relatives of Richard’s, Cheryl has written this lovely post, Art and Loss.

I didn’t know Richard well at all but he was always there, a huge part of this wonderful pottery family which I love to belong to and to quote Doug, ‘the sweetest of men’. Many tears were shed but they turned to laughter as his coffin, draped in a cloth printed with one of his bright designs he was carried out to the sounds of the Beach Boys blasting out of the speakers, how very fitting for a man who loved the coast where he lived and music and life. I’ve never attended a funeral where the man we all loved was spontaneously applauded out on his final journey. It sounds irreverent but it felt fitting and barely spoke of the impact he has had on this world.

Richard, thank you for everything. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. x

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19 Responses to Richard Godfrey

  1. John Pollex says:

    Beautiful words Hannah, we will all miss him, his smile and sense of humour.

  2. Paul Jessop says:

    Nice words Hannah, The fact that it would have been impossible to squeeze one more person into the Church, makes me feel better for not being able to get there.
    I didn’t know him that well, but the few times I met him, he made me Smile.

  3. Debboe says:

    What a beautiful tribute. He must have been a remarkable man!

  4. Ingeborg says:

    Thank you Hannah for sharing

  5. Christine Smith says:

    Yes, Thank you for sharing. Beautiful tribute to the smiliest of men.

  6. jill webber says:

    Thank you Hannah for such a beautiful tribute to my lovely and much missed brother

    • Mo Waters says:

      Hi Gill. These were lovely words weren’t they, and so true. Sorry not to speak to you on the day, but thought you and Pat did so well at such a difficult time. Love to you and Pat. Mo x

  7. Cheryl Blackford says:

    Lovely words Hannah. He meant a lot to so many people and we will all miss him.

  8. Lynda Jones says:

    Have just read of the sad death of Richard. My husband and I met Richard through my brother David Miller, another potter who was well known for his work and lived in Southern France. I believe they had been friends for a number of years, two guys with a great sense of humour whose company couldn’t be better. I send his wife and family my sincere condolences and with great feeling as I too lost my husband in August 2014 with cancer and I have a feeling his cancer may have been very similar to Johns this being in his face. My heart goes out to you. Lynda.

  9. Roma Bromley says:

    I have a collection of Richard’s ceramics which lift my spirits on a daily basis. My life is richer for having made his acquaintance as well as his wife Christine.

  10. Penny says:

    I first met Richard many more years ago than I care to mention. I stood for hours, watching him slab-build a teapot at the Dartington Cider Press Centre in Devon. We chatted and laughed, and I coveted that teapot. He decorated it in my favourite colours, wrote my name on the base alongside his signature, and there began a love affair with Richard’s breathtaking ceramics. We met several times more over the years, and he never forgot me.

    All these years later, the most cherished pieces – including the teapot – live in a beautiful Edwardian glass-fronted cabinet which I had specially made over from it’s original gloomy mahogany in a gentle dove-grey colour to make the brightness of the glazes really stand out. Everybody who enters my sitting room gasps in admiration; it’s the first thing they see.

    When I heard the news of Richard’s death, it was a sad blow indeed. But I derive comfort from knowing his humour and spirit live on in the pieces he so lovingly and skillfully created.

  11. Sally Edmundson-Bird says:

    I was just looking at the exhibitor list for Potfest this weekend and checking out Richard would be there. I had a very small nothing of a gallery, that failed miserably back in the 1990’s. Richard treated me with such respect and understanding, his beautiful personality always a joy to enjoy. I looked forward to seeing him every year. We always caught up at Potfest and I was delighted last year that I could introduce him to my baby son. I am heartbroken to read of his passing. This is a lovely piece. What a tragedy, yet how lovely that we all experienced what a marvellously talented, sweet soul.

  12. Mrs Geraldine Trower says:

    We have just heard of the sad of loss of Richard.

    He helped our son Ryan with his ceramic work when he was at
    school. We visited him when he was at the Maltings on several
    occassions. Such a lovely man, so helpful to Ryan, and always smiling
    and happy.
    Ryan has a lot of his work, which he treasures.

    A very sad loss, our thoughts are with his family as they near the anniversay
    of their loss.

  13. John Willoughby says:

    The news of Richard’s passing hit us like a bombshell this evening. We had met up with Richard a number of times over the years and bought several of his pieces after being totally captivated by his talents and the unique quality of his work. It was only after an inpromptu stop at his website that we read what had happened. It seems unreal.
    If ever we needed a reminder that life is fleeting, precious and to be embraced fully, this was such a time. Our sincerest condolences go out to Richard’s family and friends, and to all his followers everywhere such as us. The world has lost a lovely man and a great personality. We are the richer for having known him and we will not forget him.

  14. Elisabeth Coulston (nee Peters) says:

    Only just learned the sad news (well . . . news to me!). I taught Richard’s children at NF Primary school and had the privilege of taking a whole class of children for a fantastic fun workshop at his studio . . . all given freely. Like many, I always remember his smile and his cheerful and positive attitude. RIP. xx

  15. clive hill says:

    It is with great sadness i hear Richard has passed away. I lived in Holbeton for a number of years and was very fortunate enough to have spent some precious time in his company. He was truly a lovely man. Not only was he a talented potter he was amazingly talented in a thespian sense as well. His ability to get the most out of a script and aptly infuse his performance with what can only be described as a special ability to entertain . He will be sorely missed.

    Clive hill

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