Towards the end of the Victorian era, a few small potteries around the Torquay area in Devon began to flourish, using traditional methods to produce a great variety of both practical and decorative wares. Most typical of the many designs were bold, slip painted flowers and birds such as cockerels and kingfishers. Other popular lines included landscapes, sailing boats and cottages. Many pieces were inscribed with quaint sayings and stylish design with handmade spontaneity. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Decorative Arts > Ceramics > West Country Art Pottery

 


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West Country Art Pottery
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WEST COUNTRY POTTERY

 Starting in the late 19th century, the new art potteries of the West Country turned out a wide range of boldly painted, individually crafted pieces which combined with place names, some far from Devon.

 The industry blossomed in the area, largely due to the efforts of two highly motivated individuals who sought to regenerate high quality craftsmanship through band-made goods.

 The first pottery set up in this way was at Aller Vale, near Newton Abbott. It was founded in 1881 by the philanthropist John Phillips, a champion of the Arts and Crafts movement.

 This and certain later potteries came to be called ~art' potteries because all the wares were made without the aid of machines, in keeping with age-old country methods.

 The clay was dug locally and all the pottery was hand-thrown on a wheel. The paints and glazes were made on the premises and the wares were hand-painted. 

CROWN DORSET

 In 1905, a new art pottery was founded in Poole, Dorset, by Charles Collard, once Aller Vale's chief decorator. He started there in 1886, when he was just 12, and learnt all the various skills of a potter before specializing as a decorator.

 The time he spent working with John Phillips led Collard to value the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement very highly. He named his new workshop at Poole the Crown Dorset Pottery.

 The area around Poole provided Collard with two vital ingredients for success: a good supply of coloured clay and a well-developed tourist trade. The wares produced were similar to those of Torquay, but several new lines appeared, many of which were clearly intended for seasonal visitors.

 By the end of World War 1, though, he was ready to embark on a new venture and bought an almost derelict pottery at Honiton in Devon.

 At Honiton, Collard changed his style completely. Instead of decorating under-glaze as before, decoration was now over the glaze. He used a new, white leadless glaze which produced a matt finish, quite unlike the earlier highly glazed wares.

 Collard ran the pottery successfully through to World War 2, after which it was sold. Its new owners continued production but by more modern methods.

COLLECTOR'S NOTES

 West Country pottery makes a good subject for collecting, especially if you concentrate on one maker or subject. Plenty of small pieces can be found in antiques markets at good, though rising prices, and may also turn up in charity shops, hoot fairs and jumble sales.

 Cottage and motto ware are still relatively easy to come by as they were made up until the 1950s. Larger decorative items, however, have become highly sought after, and so more expensive, in recent years.

 Those whose decorators can be identified represent particularly good finds. The quality of decoration does vary, though, with the apprentice's hand being noticeably less sure than the expert's in some cases.

 The black cockerel of the Aller Vale and Longpark potteries is much collected and always makes a striking display. It appears on a whole range of domestic wares from egg cups, mugs and plates to teapots and spill vases. Aller Vale cockerels often had 'Good Morning' written by their beaks.

BIRDS AND FLOWERS

 Some buyers favour the flower vases painted with realistic daffodils or irises. Daffodils are especially popular and even small items are relatively expensive - irises are even rarer. Birds such as herons and storks fetch high prices.

 The Watcombe kingfisher remains popular and is still extensively found, especially on items made during the 1920s.

 For those who prefer a brighter, cheerier colour range, Honiton wares represent some attractive buys. An enormous number of large jugs and vases were made during the 1920s and 1930s; some of these pieces are surprisingly undervalued today. You can tell Honiton ware from most other West Country pottery by its light, beige-coloured clay and matt finish.

 The Jacobean pattern, which was probably the single most popular design which came out of the Honiton factory, appeared on large and small jugs and vases, as well as on whole tea and coffee services.

 As craftsmen moved from one pottery to another, they continued to use the various techniques they had learnt on the way, which makes identification of some items rather difficult. Much of the pottery was unmarked, so getting to know the standard designs will help you work out where pieces came from.

 Bagdade,Warman's English & Continental Pottery & Porcelain.

 Towards the end of the Victorian era, a few small potteries around the Torquay area in Devon began to flourish, using traditional methods to produce a great variety of both practical and decorative wares. Most typical of the many designs were bold, slip painted flowers and birds such as cockerels and kingfishers. Other popular lines included landscapes, sailing boats and cottages. Many pieces were inscribed with quaint sayings and stylish design with handmade spontaneity.
Strong forms and lively, hand-painted designs were the hallmark of west Country pottery. As more and more holiday-makers came to Torbay, souvenir wares grew in importance.

 Bagdade,Warman's English & Continental Pottery & Porcelain.

 

 



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