As we move into spring, our antiques expert, Allan Blackburn, looks at some fantastic floral-design ceramics...
This week I thought I’d feature some ceramics which often display the bright spring flowers we’re longing to see. The pottery of William Moorcroft is perhaps the most recognisable of all ceramic designers, which also makes it inviting for collectors perhaps learning their way in a new year’s hobby.
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Moorcroft Pottery is handmade, hand-decorated, and has become famous for its beautiful colours and quality. It’s this use of bold colours, thick glazes and classic
designs that earned Moorcroft two Royal Appointments, and has kept it on the shelves of top retailers, such as Liberty’s, consistently throughout the company’s history.
In 1897 young William Moorcroft began working as a designer for James Macintyre’s in Stoke-on-Trent. Trained in London and Paris, William so impressed his employers that he was given his own branded pottery studio.
In 1913 he set up his own pottery with financial help from Liberty’s of London. Continuing to develop new, colourful designs, often inspired by exotic fruits or animals, William also experimented with new techniques, the secrets of which he passed on only to his son, Walter.
In 1945, when William died, Walter took over the family firm and developed his own designs. Although there were many good years, Moorcroft was to fall victim to the demand for mass-produced goods. Struggling financially, the company was sold twice in the 1980s, the second time luckily leading to a dramatic turnaround now recognized as ‘the Phoenix years’.
Moorcroft's latest designers, Rachel Bishop and Sally Dennis, helped recreate the Moorcroft name and its association with quality and workmanship.
Due to the artistic vision of exceptionally skilled craftsmen, Moorcroft now sells more of its magnificent wares all over the world (even more than in its previous heyday in the mid-1920s).
Moorcroft’s success is that it has stuck to its quality ethic, as opposed to making cheap mass produced items. Values for Moorcroft pottery are continually rising, with new pieces described as the 'antiques of the future'.
Moorcroft’s distinctive style easily stands out in a second-hand shop or antiques centre, so keep your eyes open, and with a lot of luck, you might spot yourself a classic.