Blessed Hands



English Prinknash Hand-Thrown Little Vase with Gunmetal Glazing (LEO Design)

The Prinknash Abbey (pronounced "Prinidge" or "Prinnish") is a Benedictine monastery founded in the year 1096 in "The Vale of Gloucester," about 100 miles northwest of London.  In 1539, as Henry VIII was stripping the Catholic churches and closing their monasteries, he seized the abbey to be his hunting lodge.  In 1928, the abbey and its grounds were returned to the Benedictine monks.

In the 1940's, a supply of red clay was discovered on the property and a pottery workshop was built.  Monks would throw little pots and bowls, decorating them with their signature metallic gunmetal glaze.  These vessels would be sold to help support the work of the abbey.  But producing hand-thrown vases, by monks, was a labor intensive business—and, naturally, output was affected by the reduced number of vocations to the order.  Over the decades, production slowed and was finally ended in 1997.  Today, the monks blend and sell incense—mostly for religious ceremonial purposes.  They are recognized as the largest producer of liturgical incense in the world.

This little vase, hand-thrown in the Fifties, could hold a few small stems, be used to punctuate a larger ceramics grouping, or could be enjoyed as a stand alone piece.  One can observe the spiraling ribs on the vase—evidence of the monk's hands which made the piece.   Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248