Hans Coper distinguished himself as a creator of new forms. His pots in the main were formed of conjoined elements that had been thrown. Whilst the pots remain functional, they are also highly sculptural. He much admired the work of the sculptors Alberto Giacometti and Constantin Brancusi, having much in common with their fascinations with form, surface, outline and space. Coper marked the surface of his pieces, giving them a depth of texture. He layered slip and then sanded, scratched and stained it. Like Lucie Rie, he selected to raw glaze his works rather than firing them twice. His palette was limited to neutral shades of cream, manganese and a burnt black. There is a fusion between the body of a work and its glaze to the extent that the two become almost indistinguishable. It was for him not about decorating a surface but rather about creating a whole.
He was an émigré who fled Nazi Germany in 1939, but was interned in Lancashire when war was declared and then sent to Canada. Eventually he joined the British Army in 1941 and served for a few years before being released owing to ill health. From 1946, he worked with Lucie Rie, initially making buttons and then cups, saucers and salad bowls but later moved to a studio at Digswell Arts Trust. He influential as a teacher both at Camberwell School of Art, where his pupils included Ewen Henderson, and the Royal College of Art, where taught Alison Briton and Elizabeth Fritsch. He gained recognition at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and his commissions included candleholders for Coventry Cathedral and for the Meeting House at the University of Sussex. Throughout his life he remained close friends with Lucie Rie.