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Posts from the ‘Staffordshire Potteries’ Category

Moira Pottery Staffordshire

Moira Pottery Staffordshire

Moira pottery was originally founded in 1922, and is still well known for its domestic or utilitarian earthenware which started with jam jars, and progressed to its well known “Hillstonia” range which was made from 1934-1972 . It also produced salt glazed stoneware, beer steins, and stamped/branded domestic ware of many types.

The pottery was located near Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire and mined its own clay on site. Moira is often (and seemingly incorrectly) documented as having closed in 1972 by a National Coal Board compulsory acquisition. (It sat on a valuable coal seam, which is often next to a clay seam)

From snippets of information I have come across it seems the original Moira location was closed, but Moira then either re-openend or operated at a nearby location until the mid 1980s when it closed and the site possibly became a textile factory.

The Victoria & Albert Museum also has 2 pieces of Moira salt glazed stoneware pottery in its collection, made in 1981. You can see one of them on the V&A site HERE.

The beautiful clay used by Moira pottery was very plastic in nature and beautiful for throwing as well as enhancing glaze colour and surface, and was also used by other potteries such as that at Albrighton.

The beautifully plastic characteristics of the Moira clay differentiates it from lesser quality creamware – in the jug I have pictured below you can still see the concentric rings from its throwing because it held shape so well.

If you know more about the later history of this pottery, or even worked at Moira I would love to hear from you.

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Agincourt, Crown Clarence

Agincourt Design by Jon Anton, Crown Clarence, Staffordshire

The simple but catching design with its Celtic cross is stamped to the base “Agincourt”, Jon Anton. It is a design that pops up now and then, but doesn’t seem to have been produced in large numbers.

The crown on the backstamp of these pieces is the makers mark for “Crown Clarence”. Research tells me that this was one of the brands produced by “The Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd”, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. This maker produced a number of brands including “Windsor” and “Crown Clarence”.

This design is attributed to the 1960s, and came in a dark green and dark blue variation as well. It is slip cast stoneware pottery, and relatively light weight. As you can see the relief design of the stylised Celtic cross stands out more on some pieces better than others. Love the shape of the lidded sugar bowl. Read more

Hostess Tableware Designs, John Russell

Hostess Tableware Staffordshire Designs by John Russell

These designs are stunning. British design at its best. They were all created by top British ceramics designer John Russell c1970s for a company called Hostess Tableware Staffordshire.

He designed a number of patterns for this company, but these are the standouts I think.

The company was formed by the merger of Royal Stafford China and British Anchor Pottery c 1970, which as far as I can discover, closed in the 1990s.

John Russell is primarily known for his designs at Midwinter Pottery, where he created Midwinter “Riverside”and numerous other Midwinter designs in the 1960s. These however are far much more impressive, bold, clean and resolved designs to me, than any of his Midwinter designs.

Black Velvet Coffee Set - John Russell

Black Velvet Design – John Russell

Black Velvet Coffee Set - John Russell

Black Velvet Coffee Set – John Russell – Photo from “H is for Home” on Flickr

Black Velvet Design - John Russell

Black Velvet Design Backstamp – John Russell

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Apollo 11 – The Vase!

The Apollo Series Vases – Royal Norfolk UK, 1960s.

Way back in July 2011, on the previous version of this site I posted about a spectacular very large blue vase with “Apollo 11” stamped underneath. I couldn’t find anything out about it until after several comments on the blog it was identified by Steve Optix from Retro Mojo UK  as being produced by Royal Norfolk (UK).

What I love about this series is the way the textured ripples on the surface remind me of the Apollo rockets on take off when you had all gasses and steam rippling and flowing down the sides of the rocket. The  designer of the series is yet to be identified.

Apollo 11 Vase, Royal Norfolk, UK

Apollo 11 Vase, Royal Norfolk, UK

Over time, in my experience, all mysteries to do with vintage ceramics are resolved. Late last year Steve from Retro Mojo put together information about the Apollo series forms, and below is a summary of the background discovered. Read more

Homemaker – Enid Seeney – A 20th Century Classic

“Homemaker” A design by Enid Seeney (1931-2011) has become a 20th Century Design Classic.

Homemaker was designed in 1957 by Enid Seeny and Tom Arnold for Ridgway and was sold through Woolworth’s. It had a long production run and was still made as late as 1968 such was its popularity.

The following is an extract from the Obituary for Enid Seeney, written by Simon Moss in the Gaurdian, May 9th 2011.

From an early age Enid had wanted become a designer of surface decoration in the ceramic industry.  She attended Burslem School of Art in Stoke on Trent an  subsequently became the first woman to be trained in the Spode Copeland design studio, before joining a young team of artists at Booths and Colclough, part of the Ridgway group, in 1951. Headed by its director Tom Arnold, this new unit was producing some exciting designs, and Seeney’s Samoa and English Garden were both chosen for exhibition at the Design Centre in London.

Her early work was typified by stylised floral motifs, often executed in pen and ink, and this fine line technique was perfectly suited to the new movements in postwar design, typified by Alexander Calder’s mobiles and the spindly furniture Seeney saw in magazines.

In earlier decades, most plates had rims, but American-style coupe shape plates were coming into fashion, along with new manufacturing techniques, so when she was challenged by Arnold to produce an “all-over” pattern for a plate, Seeney created Furniture. The motifs depicted domestic items, some of which were far beyond the reach of the average family, including Robin Day’s reclining chair and a Sigvard Bernadotte sofa.

It is quite sad to read the rest of the Enid’s story, as she left the industry only 4 months after designing Homemaker, undertaking some mundane jobs never working as a designer again, and didn’t know until later that Homemaker had become such a hit – but she followed its popularity with pride and interest.

I have only ever had a few pieces of Homemaker, pictured below. To see a large variety of the forms and decorations in all their glory go to the V&A Collections website.

Homemaker Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Cake Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker Cake Plate, Enid Seeney

Homemaker, Cup & Saucer, Enid Seeney

Homemaker, Cup & Saucer, Enid Seeney

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