Koerner Ceramics Gallery

When you visit the Museum of Anthropology, take some time to visit the Koerner Ceramics Gallery.

The impressive collection was donated by Dr. Walter C. Koerner, a major force behind the development of MOA. Koerner – who lived from 1898 to 1995 – started collecting pottery as a child in the Czech Republic. “I told Prime Minister (Pierre) Trudeau that if the government of Canada would give the money to the province for an anthropological museum attached to the university, I would give our collection of Northwest Coast Indian Art to the museum.”

In entering the gallery, we learn that: ‘the technology needed to produce tin-glazed earthenware, maiolica, was firmly established in Italy by the end of the 15th century and little was to change until the 18th century. The chalky white clay was collected from the river beds and left in the sun to dry.’

These Italian ceramics came to life on wooden wheels or plaster moulds. Wood-burning kilns and tin-oxide glaze created the white surface for the artist’s brush. ‘The absorbent white surface of the glazed vessel was a challenge for the painter who had to approach the vessel with a confident hand because errors could not be erased. He used brushes made from the hair of goats and the mane of asses..’

Here’s a look at some of the pieces you will see.

Figure of Saint John the Baptist. Late 15th Century
Della Robbia Studios
Florence, Italy

Stove Tile. 1540
Austria or Germany

Cistern. 1500-1600

Stove Tile. 16th Century

Dish. Mid 16th Century
Deruta, Italy

Stove Tile. 1640. Artist: Zacharias Low
Bischofszell. Switzerland

Stove Tile. 1600s.
Styria, Austria.

Dish. Late 16th Century – Early 17th Century
Isnik, Turkey

Tankard. 1639

Plate. 17th Century
Laterza, Italy

Figure. Early 17th Century
Apulia. Italy

Moulded dish. 1680-1690
Brislington or London, England

Tankard. Early 17th Century
Kreussen. Germany

Tankard. Early 17th Century
Kreussen. Germany

Tankard. Early 18th Century
Central Europe

Lemon Dish. 18th Century
Glinitz. Germany

Lidded Bowl. 18th Century
Gmunden. Austria

Dish. Mid 18th Century
France or Netherlands

Jug. Late 18th Century

Written by Elizabeth Newton

Header: Jewel case. 1786.
Tata, Hungary


Cathy Terepocki


Diane Zwickel

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton