The Leaping Salmon is probably York's most important pot. It was made around 1930-31 by Bernard Leach and is considered by many (including Bernard himself) to be his best work. It features the famous bracken-ash glaze and is one of the rare pots where the glaze was completely successful. This glaze along with the Chinese influenced shape and the skilfully painted leaping salmon motif (which consists of only 26 brush strokes) combine to produce one of the UK's finest and most famous studio pots of the 20th century.
Bernard Leach is often called the father of British studio pottery and played a leading role in the growth of the studio pottery movement, not only as a maker but also through his writing, lecturing and training of future potters. He set up the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall in 1920, which became a magnet for potters from around the world who supported his views on pottery and wanted to learn from him.
The Leaping Salmon forms part of the Milner-White collection, one of the most important collections of British Studio Pottery. It was bought together by Eric Milner-White (1887-1963), who was Dean of York Minster. He gifted most of his collection to York Art Gallery.