Barry Brickell, New Zealand ceramic artist, Died at 80


Barry Brickell was born on October 26, 1935, in New Plymouth and died on January 23, 2016.

He was a New Zealand potter, writer, conservationist and founder of Driving Creek Railway.

He and his family soon moved to Auckland, initially staying in Meadowbank then settling in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore.

He was a third form student at Takapuna Grammar School, there he was introduced to potter Len Castle.

Barry enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree at The University of Auckland in 1954, completing his studies under the Post Primary Teacher’s Bursary Scheme.

His only teaching position was in 1961 at Coromandel District High School, which only lasted a few months.

Mr.Brickwell then became a full-time potter and purchased his first property near Coromandel town.

In 1974, Barry purchased the adjoining 60-acre property, which is the current location of his Driving Creek Railway and Potteries.

Mr. Brickell was one of the artists highlighted in Treasures of the Underworld, the New Zealand pavilion exhibition at Seville Expo ’92.

The exhibition he was on voyaged to the Netherlands and throughout New Zealand before the works were accessioned for the collection of the National Art Gallery, now held by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Barry was the author of several books and small publications, including A New Zealand Potters’ Dictionary (1985) and Rails toward the Sky (2011).

In 1996, Christine Leov-Lealand released the biography Barry Brickell: A Head of Steam.

In 2013, The Auckland University Press published the book His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell to coincide with a major touring retrospective of his pottery work, organised by the Dowse Art Museum and featuring 100 pieces.

In 1974, Mr. Brickell was awarded a QEII Arts Council Grant to build New Zealand’s first wood-fired stoneware pottery kiln, which he made with help from students, using bricks from a demolished hotel in the nearby town of Coromandel.

In the 1988 New Year Honours, Mr. Brickell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to pottery.

Mr. Brickell passed away at 80 yrs old.