Ceramics, one of the world’s oldest forms of culture, can be traced back more than 11,000 years to Asia and the Middle East.
Because of the durability of fired clay, pottery remains a superb record of the development of civilization. Ceramics are also one of the most common art forms: in most cultures ceramics were used at different social levels and for many activities such as eating and drinking, religious practice, and household decoration. Hard-waring and ubiquitous, ceramics have been a medium for the exchange of artistic ideas and techniques. Today every home contains ceramic objects.
The collection donated in 1984 by Museum founders George and Helen Gardiner forms the basis of the Museum’s reputation. Enhanced by other major gifts, the collection now consists of more than 3,000 pieces, ranging from ancient American vessels, the fine porcelains of Asia and Europe, to dynamic contemporary pieces. In recognition of the enormous diversity of ceramics, the permanent collection is regularly complemented by special exhibitions.
Since opening in 1984, The Gardiner Museum’s collections have continued to grow and flourish, mostly in thanks to the generous donations of ceramics collectors from around the globe. If you think you may have a piece or a collection that may be of interest to us, please refer to our Guide to Donations for frequently asked questions.
Museum staff are not able to offer object identifications, financial appraisals or valuations of objects to the general public. This policy is in accordance with the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Code of Ethics for Museums. Please contact The Art Dealers Association of Canada or the Canadian Antique Dealers Association for assistance with your appraisal needs.
Collections Management Policy
Collections Development Policy
Guide to Donations to the Permanent Collection