Pudding Pan Artist Commission

Turner Contemporary, Margate 
8 October 2016 – 8 Jan 2017

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Turner Contemporary and the British Museum National Programmes have commissioned artist Hannah Lees to create a new work in response to the British Museum’s collection of Roman Samian Ware pottery found along the coast near Whitstable.

Known as Pudding Pan pots, the Roman bowls, plates and cups were first brought ashore in the 18th century by fishermen around Herne Bay. The pottery was made in Lezoux (central Gaul) and transported by ship to Britain during the late second century AD, but the ship carrying the Samiam Ware was wrecked off the coast of Kent. Although the exact location of the wreck is unknown it is thought to lie near Pudding Pan Rock, a site visible from Turner Contemporary’s Learning Studio, where a group of twelve Pudding Pan vessels from the British Museum collection are currently displayed.

Alongside the Pudding Pan vessels, Hannah Lees’ work draws on ritual and religion, and her interest in archaeology and history connected to her home-town of Canterbury. She has been working with curators from the British Museum to research the Roman history of Thanet, particularly food, drink and trade routes.

Her new commission includes a mural made from wine lees, the clay-like sediment left behind in the wine-making process emphasising both the long history of wine-making in Kent and the clay-slip used to make the Roman pottery. The mural forms the background to a table set with the remnants of a simple, Roman-style meal of bread and wine. Also exhibited are a number of small, plaster tablets containing items found beachcombing at Herne Bay, Whitstable and Margate in Kent and Dunkerque in Northern France where the Roman pots started their journey across the channel.

Samian Ware bowl