Colin Pearson was born in north London in 1923 and studied at Goldsmith’s College, where he was taught by Kenneth Clark. During this time, he began to make maiolica wares and was influenced by the tin glaze ceramics of William Newland, Margaret Hine and James Tower. He worked at Winchcombe pottery in Gloucestershire before going to work in slipcasting in the chemical porcelain department at the Royal Doulton pottery in Lambeth in 1954.
A year later, Pearson took over from David Leach the running of Aylesford Pottery in Kent, where he produced slipware and stoneware that was loosely modelled on the Leach pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. In 1961 he set up his own workshop, Quay Pottery, and made domestic wares. While he worked at the pottery, he taught at the Camberwell School of Art, where some of his pupils included Mo Jupp, Ian Godfrey and Ewen Henderson, and later at Harrow School of Art and Medway College of Design, and then moved to Islington, London.
His work ranges from practical tableware, richly glazed with minimal abstract decoration intended for modern living, to sculptural pieces that have a sense of freedom and irregularity. His early work was influenced by both medieval English pottery and that from the Far East. Pearson began adding his distinguishable wings to many of his pieces in the early 1970’s, and these ‘winged’ pieces were first exhibited at his 1971 British Crafts Centre exhibition.
In 1975 Pearson won the 33rd Grand Prix in Faenza, Italy, and in 1996 he was awarded an honorary fellowship from the University of the Arts in London.
He moved into his final studio in Hackney in 2000, where he continued to work with increased assistance until he was forced to stop by illness in 2003.