Cecil Baugh, the ‘Master Potter’, was born in Bangor Ridge, Portland in about 1909 and attended the Bangor Ridge Primary School.
Cecil remained undaunted, went to England to study with another ceramist, and would not rest until he managed to secure a one-year term under the guidance of Bernard Leach who was regarded as the ‘Father of British Studio Pottery’. It was the beginning of a friendship, which lasted throughout the years. He returned to Jamaica in 1949 and in 1950 mounted his first one-man exhibition. Soon after with Albert Huie, Linden Leslie, Jerry Isaacs, and Edna Manley formed the Jamaica School of Art. Cecil Baugh was the last to leave the institution when he retired in 1975.
Strength and simplicity – these two features above all epitomize the feel of Cecil Baugh’s pottery. And for him, this skill was not easily acquired as part of a planned art course, but was rather built throughout the years by ceaseless experimenting with materials available to him and by determinedly seeking to learn from those more skilled than himself in order to improve his work. He gave nearly half a century of his life to pottery – at first discovering and improving his own skills and later passing these skills on to others. Ceramics in Jamaica now have their own unique form, authentically Jamaican, evolved by Jamaicans for Jamaicans. To have helped to achieve this status for this ancient craft is a life’s work to be proud of and in more ways than one, Cecil Baugh could be described as the Bernard Leach of Jamaican pottery.
Cecil Baugh died on June 28, 2005 at the age of ninety-six.