New commission by local artist Jacob Chan now on display at Williamson

Williamson Art Gallery & Museum has commissioned a brand new work by ceramicist Jacob Chan as the latest addition to the Williamson’s permanent collections.

Chan’s ‘Foo Dog’ takes inspiration from a duo of existing foo dogs in the Williamson collections as well as his memories, discoveries and experiences of visits to the museum.

Jacob was a finalist in the Great Pottery Throw Down competition on TV in 2019-20.

Jacob Chan said, “The Williamson has defined my journey as a ceramicist as I have been influenced by the permanent collections and countless shows & exhibitions that have been on display over the decades.

“I’m honoured to now have a piece in their collection. The piece I have made is a combination of my memories and a nod to the existing collection of works displayed throughout the gallery and hidden in the archives beneath.“

Made from stoneware and soda fired to 1300 degrees Celsius, Chan’s new foo dog has been created from using sections of individually thrown ginger jars, which have been cut up and pieced back together to create the shape and form of this mythical creature.

Its design pays homage to personal experiences Chan has had at the Williamson over the years.

Jacob continued, “The base that it sits on displays an entwining story of decals, including homages to events such as the Oxton Art Fair and patterns from the Della Robbia Pottery Collection which has always captured my curiosity and been an influential factor in my journey as a ceramicist.”

The dog’s fan-tail takes inspiration from deeper exploration of the Williamson’s collections and archives. On one research visit Chan came across a collection of beautifully decorated and carved fans. Made of porcelain, decorated with decals and gilded with 24k gold leaf, the tail incorporates their designs and patterns, as a nod to the craft and skill involved.

The acquisition was made possible with support of a grant from The Arts Society Wirral, 2023.

Foo dogs have often been used as an idol at the entrance of buildings and homes in China to ward off evil spirits. In keeping with this traditional role, Chan’s new piece is currently being displayed in the Williamson’s Foyer. It sits alongside a curated selection of Chan’s other pottery, which is available to purchase.

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news