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Philippa Threlfall

Philippa at work

Philippa Threlfall has been making relief murals in ceramic since the early 1960s, combining the disciplines of illustration and ceramic which she studied at Cardiff College of Art. After college, she qualified as an art teacher at Goldsmiths College London and taught ceramics and painting part time for six years at North London Collegiate School in Edgware.  During this time, she began to receive commissions for mural work. Her medium is an unusual one: clay is modelled and textured in a flat sheet, cut up and fired several times in a kiln to get the right colouring effects with oxides and glazes. The many pieces are then assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle and placed into a backing of fibreglass and polyester resins, sometimes adding natural materials: pebbles, flint and slate.

Philippa left London for Wells in 1967 to marry Kennedy Collings who had read history at Cambridge and was at that time working for C & J Clark, the shoe company.      Kennedy joined Philippa working in clay relief and together they completed nearly a hundred major works on sites all over the United Kingdom and overseas.  Some were for private clients, but most for display in public situations - shopping precincts, banks, building societies, an airport, hospital and office developments.

They also developed a range of small terracotta tiles, usually based on historic references and reproduced by a unique method that allows great detail.  They called this business Black Dog after their original mediaeval property in Wells. Since 2016 this has been run by their son Daniel in Bath.  (  Kennedy died in 2002, and Philippa has continued to live and work in Wells in the house and studios that they had designed together.


In 2020, unable for the time being to work in clay, Philippa has been concentrating on painting. She has been painting ‘lockdown interiors’ of her house in Wells, which all have her unique, hallmark style and beautiful colour palette and are available for sale at Heritage Courtyard Gallery.


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