"Visiting the Fitzwilliam as a student, I was struck by the work of Thomas Toft and Ralph Simpson, who made slipware in Staffordshire in the 1600s. This pottery became, and remains to this day, my favourite period of English pottery tradition. These chargers tell us about the society in which they were made and also display the incredible skill and dexterity of the makers. Their painting with coloured clay slips has a great sense of animated enjoyment and liveliness. Some pieces portray ideas (such as the charger showing the Pelican in her Piety) while others portray events or people of the time."