Coper, the most influential potter of the second half of the twentieth century, was born in Germany in 1920. He came to England in 1939 and was arrested the following year, as an alien, and sent to Canada. A year later he was returned to England, and had a short career in the British Army.
After the war he met Lucie Rie and worked with her for thirteen years. In 1958 he became a naturalised British subject, and in 1959 set up his own studio in Hertfordshire. He returned to London in 1963 and over the next twelve years taught at the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art, both in London. In 1967 he moved to Frome in Somerset. Coper died in 1981 after a seven-year illness.
Many fine potters owe much to Hans Coper's teaching, not least of whom is Lucie Rie, although few have copied his style. He will be remembered as much for his ability to improve the skills of others as for the style, originality and outstanding quality of his own work.