This periodically rotating exhibition of Belleek porcelain comprises masterworks from the comprehensive and noted collection of Linda N. Beard. The roots of Belleek porcelain production lay in the lands of John Caldwell Bloomfield, who in 1849 had a geologic survey of his property in the village of Belleek, County Fermanagh, in what would later become Northern Ireland, that revealed rich deposits of minerals. In large part, Belleek production came into being as a response to economic distress, as opposed to affluence and the rise of empire that had served as the basis for earlier factories. Characterized by a distinctive and sensuous “pearl” glaze, Belleek porcelain has uniform quality often not found in the production of other great European porcelain factories. Ireland, then an impoverished country with no strong tradition of porcelain manufacture, seems an unlikely venue for the rise of a world-class center making such a refined and technically challenging product. Yet, the Belleek firm, Belleek Pottery Works Company Ltd., was a success in all its aims, both economic and artistic. This exhibition is partially supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.
Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts
The W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. This exhibition is also supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.