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Julian Stair - New contemporary ceramics exhibition at National Museum Cardiff

One of the world's most acclaimed ceramicists working today, Julian Stair comes to Cardiff with his first major museum solo exhibition. Julian Stair Quietus: The vessel, death and the human body explores rituals around death and burial and how these can be interpreted as a celebration of life at National Museum Cardiff from 6 April – 7 July 2013.

Supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust, the exhibition which was commissioned by mima, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, features a collection of Stair’s very beautiful funerary vessels and explores the containment of the human body after death, featuring cinerary jars and life size sarcophagi, and is the culmination of ten years’ work.

Julian Stair is a potter and writer, who specialises in site specific installations. His work varies from the domestic to the monumental and is characterised by a subtle palette of whites, reds and greys in stoneware, porcelain and brick clay. His work is held in many notable collections worldwide, including the British Council, V&A, Contemporary Art Society and mima.

Quietus opened at mima, Middlesbrough last year and will also tour to Winchester Cathedral. The works in this exhibition have been made through funding from Arts Council England, and were made in the UK and Denmark.

Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said:

“Quietus is a spectacular and ground-breaking exhibition, as well as a deeply moving and personal one. There is an age-old relationship between pottery and human burial rituals, and at National Museum Cardiff we use the archaeology collection to make connections between Julian Stair’s work and pottery used in burials by the people of ancient Wales.”

There will be three lunchtime talks to coincide with the exhibition

Friday 17 May, 1.05pm
Quietus in Context – A Brief History of Funerary Ceramics, with Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art.

Friday 24 May, 1,05pm
Julian Stair: the artist talks about his exhibition, Quietus.

Friday 7 June, 1.05pm
In Other Spaces: The Sensitivity between Ceramics and Sites, with James Beighton, Senior Curator, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and curator of Quietus exhibition.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.

Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.


For more information and photographs please contact Lleucu Cooke, Communications Officer on (029) 2057 3175 or email

Notes to Editors:

Julian Stair will also be exhibiting at York St Mary’s from 10 May - 7 July, 2013
Stair presents a major new installation which takes inspiration from York's ceramics collections and responds to the atmospheric space of York St Mary's