He ended his days a ceramic magus, his pottery at Wenford Bridge, Cornwall, an outpost of the counterculture and a haven for disaffected youth. In sub-Saharan Africa, and later in Australia, he offered the egalitarianism of craft as an antidote to racism and inequality. As the novelist Angela Carter observed in 1977, he came to seem ‘the Last Sane Man in a crazy world’.
Tanya Harrod is a leading British art historian, and the author of the prize-winning The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press 1999), one of the best national surveys of craft. She has organised many exhibitions and contributes regularly to The Burlington Magazine, The Spectator, Crafts and The Times Literary Supplement. Her current interests include the vernacular in relation to modernism, art education in sub-Saharan Africa in the colonial period, notions of wealth and poverty in early twentieth century Britain and the effect of the New Media on the applied arts. She is on the Advisory Panel of the Journal of Design History, The Burlington Magazine and Interpreting Ceramics, and is Advisor to the Craft Lives Project based at the National Sound Archive of the British Library. She is also a co-editor of The Journal of Modern Craft. Her recent books include The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew – Modern Pots, Colonialism and the Counterculture (Yale University Press, 2013) and The Real Thing: Essays on Making In the Modern World (Hyphen Press, 2015).