‘Every day is different working at the Hall’ says Shaun

Shaun Clark
Shaun Clark

Every day is different for Shaun Clark, one day he might be dressed as a medieval potter or another day he could be a Victorian mould maker.

Shaun, aged 46, has worked part time as a Heritage Assistant at Gainsborough Old Hall since 2001.

He said: “Every day is different working at the Hall.

“We have a school party visit us most days. Teaching is my primary role, touring the hall and explaining life in a Tudorhousehold.

“The hall is actually medieval, built in 1460, so we also have events and tours covering that period too.

“Our most famous event was a royal visit in 1541 by Henry VIII.

“Teaching the history of the Hall is always lots of fun. There is a small close knit team, we all wear period costume and I also get to play authentic musical instruments.

“We like to keep it enjoyable as well as informative.”

Other famous visitors include Richard III, John Wesley and the Pilgrim Fathers.

Gainsborough Old Hall was given to the nation in 1970 by descendants of the Hickman family.

Shaun says one of his favourite bits of the job is doing outreach projects.

He said: “Every summer we represent all that the Heritage service has to offer at the Lincolnshire show.

“Our stand has even won best non agricultural exhibit for the last two years running.”

Shaun works at the hall for three days which enables him to also teach freelance as a potter.

He said: “I originally trained as an industrial ceramicist in Stoke on Trent in the early 1990’s.

“I then went on to complete a studio ceramics Degree course at the University of Wales and set up a pottery business in Glamorgan aided by the Princes Trust.

“I also worked as a designer for a small pottery in Hampshire producing tableware.

“You might even have a teapot with one of my patterns on it.”

Shaun now teaches in schools and also works for the Heritage Skills Centre at Lincoln castle.

Shaun said: “My history interests and art sometimes seem to seamlessly overlap. You may find me dressed as a medieval potter or a Victorian mould maker.

“I’ve demonstrated and exhibited work all over the country.

“I’m very lucky to have worked at various sites such as Hampton Court, Lincoln Castle, over summer I was at the lovely Robin Hoods Bay making Anglo Saxon bowls on the beach.”

Shaun moved back to his home town of Retford in 1998 with his partner Christine who is also very creative as she is a landscape painter.

Shaun said: “After many solo exhibitions we actually exhibited our work together for the first time last year at Trinity Arts Centre, which was very well received.

“Our latest venture is another joint exhibition which opened at the Heritage Skills Centre at Lincoln Castle on Saturday, September 24, for a six week run.

“It is entitled ‘Harvest’ and is a combination of pottery and painting, all based on our local agriculture and landscape.

“Please take a look if you’re in Lincoln.”

Shaun’s influence are medieval pottery and paintings.

Shaun said: “Renaissance Italian tin glazed earthenware was made to show off at the dining table.

“And ‘Istoriato’ was a style meaning to tell a story. The decoration was swift and simple, the palette earthy and bold.

“Allegory, myth, fantasy creatures and landscapes were all depicted. The backs of the bowls were left unglazed but sometimes polished.”

You can see Shaun and Christine’s exhibition, which will celebrate Lincolnshire’s rich agricultural heritage, at Lincoln Castle until Sunday, November 6.

For more information visit www.lincolncastle.com/content/harvest-exhibition.