A Gift for Her Majesty The Queen

Object 75: A History of Charterhouse in 100 Objects

As we celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee it seems fitting that the next object in the Charterhouse in 100 Objects series is this dish, which was presented to Her Majesty when she visited the School 50 years ago.

The dish is a celadon-ware piece, giving it a distinctive green colour, with a floral decoration in the centre and a commemorative inscription around the edge, celebrating the occasion of the Royal Visit. The dish was made by one of the Charterhouse community – Former Director of Art, Michael Woods. 

Michael ‘Potty’ Woods (BH 1958-1994) was a talented artist who covered portraits, landscapes, pottery, illustration and design work.  He was passionate about pottery (hence the nickname) and became an exhibiting member of the British Crafts Centre – this is even more surprising when one learns that, days before starting work at Charterhouse, he went to learn pottery at Farnham Art College (now University of the Creative Arts, Farnham) as it was to be required in his new role. It was a medium that he became confident and comfortable in, which led to the special commissioning of this dish. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest serving member of Brooke Hall.

The purpose of the Royal visit on 29 November 1972 was to open the new boarding Houses, which was done swiftly after her arrival.  Her Majesty was then keen to see the rest of the School, visiting departments and seeing pupils at work, with School Monitors acting as guides throughout the proceedings. It was whilst visiting Studio that the dish was presented to The Queen. 

It was an action-packed visit, allowing the Royal Party to visit many areas of the School and gain an understanding of its vision for the future. The Queen thoughtfully donated the celadon dish back to Charterhouse so that the School could preserve it as a memento of her historic visit.