Hylton Nel South African, b. 1941

Hylton Nel’s work is satirical, witty, sensuous and tactile. His idiosyncratic ceramics include plates, vases, bowls, and plaques, many decorated with line drawings illustrating Nels witty sense of humour. They range from the playful sexual imagery of the male nude form, to the often surreal motifs of cats and mermaids, and even religious references of Adam and Eve, and the Madonna and child.


Born in Zambia in 1941, Nel was raised on a farm in the Northern Cape, South Africa. After studying fine art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown between 1961 and 1965, he began to work with ceramics; studying in Antwerp for two years, at Royal Academy of Fine Arts, before moving to England in 1969, where he ran an antiques shop in London. After returning to South Africa in the 70’s, Hylton took up teaching at Port Elizabeth Technikon, whilst also focusing more time on his art. He currently lives on the outskirts of Calitzdorp, a small town in the Klein Karoo.


His work is found in many collections in South Africa, including those of the Durban Art Gallery; King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth; South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg; William Humphreys Art Gallery,Kimberley; and the Corobrik Collection in the Pretoria Art Museum.