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Levi Attenborough, was appointed Principal of University College, Leicester, in 1932, and both Richard and his brother, the natural history broadcaster David, spent their childhoods exploring the collections at New Walk. Their mother, Mary, had also been President of Leicester Drama Society during the 1930s, where the young Richard cut his teeth as a child actor in productions at the Little Theatre.As Elizabeth Wilson points out, these personal and family connections give Attenborough's gift to the city "a very personal resonance. It also continues a long philanthropic tradition in Leicester that I think Lord Attenborough is very conscious of and keen to continue. "The collections that founded the museum in 1849 were gifted by Leicester's Literary and Philosophical Society and, even today, our acquisition budgets come entirely from our visitors by way of donations."It was a personal tragedy in 2004 that brought the gift forward, as Lord Attenborough himself explained to me."It was something we were thinking about, but when we lost our daughter, Jane Holland, and her daughter, our granddaughter, Lucy, in the Asian tsunami, my wife suggested that the collection could be a wonderful memorial. So that's what this collection has now become. Jane loved Picasso, and the children often came with us to Madoura, where Suzanne Ramié would be delighted by their endless curiosity. We hope now that people will take as much pleasure in these works as Jane did."The Picasso Ceramics GalleryThe very personal nature of the Attenborough collection is refl ected in the catalogue, by Marilyn McCully and Michael Raeburn, produced by New Walk to coincide with the opening of the permanent exhibition gallery. The technical and historical notes are combined with the Attenboroughs' own recollections of the stories behind the purchase of each piece, while an introduction places the collection into the context of Picasso's own creative relationship with the Madoura pottery.Although now recognised as one of the most comprehensive private collections of Picasso's ceramic works, Attenborough himself notes that he and Sheila "just bought the things we liked."He adds: "There was no attempt to build a catalogue of types and styles beyond that. Once we were considering the gift to New Walk, we did begin thinking a little more like actual curators and bought a few pieces at auction to fi ll certain gaps, but otherwise we bought whatever we happened to like ourselves."As for Picasso's continuing appeal, Above: Little Owl, 1969Right: Heads of Women, Aztec vase, 1957 30 NADFAS REVIEW / SRING 2012 ART

walking around the new gallery at New Walk merely confi rms the feelings I remember from when Attenborough led me around the earlier exhibition, pointing out particular favourites, utterly engaged by the spirit of life, mischief and visual invention that informed the works on display. Simultaneously modern and timeless, Picasso's ceramics have an immediacy that fully justifi es Attenborough's own conclusion."I think it would be impossible for anyone to not respond to this energy and humour," he said. "There's something quite magical in Picasso's touch that I've been privileged to live with for over 30 years. Their move to New Walk leaves a large gap in our home but I take enormous pleasure in knowing these things are now accessible to everyone, just as that very fi rst 30 franc ashtray was there for us back in 1954." ?A catalogue, by Marilyn McCully and Michael Raeburn, is published by New Walk Museum & Art Gallery (ISBN 978-0-9569221-0-6), priced £25 (hb)Above: The New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in LeicesterPICASSO CERAMICS: THE ATTENBOROUGH COLLECTIONOpen: Monday - Saturday: 10.00am - 5.00pm, Sunday: 11.00am - 5.00pmAddress: New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, 53 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7EA Groups: 0116 225 4900; FreeGetting there: By train - Leicester NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2012 31 CERAMIC ART