Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at pottery...
In 1890, J.F. Wiltshaw formed a partnership with two Robinson brothers and started to produce pottery made to very high standards, which ensured their success in the marketplace for nearly 70 years.
Their early products were Victorian Blush Ware, which was very popular at the time. At the turn of the century, they added a new line of Crested Ware. The further introduction of matt black ware with floral decoration and a range of ‘cloisonné’ secured their popularity.
In 1918, after introducing his son to the company, James Wiltshaw died and his son, Cuthbert, established the name of Wiltshaw Robinson, which was later to become Carlton Ware.
The introduction of ‘Oriental’ designs between the two World Wars, combined with a series of lustre finishes, put Carlton Ware at the forefront of the market.
Designs such as ‘Paradise Bird and Tree’, and ‘Secretary Bird’ are probably the most sought after today.
By the late 1920’s, the range had expanded to include more modestly priced tableware, including their “Windrush” range.
In 1929, Carlton was the first manufacturer to offer ‘Oven to Table’ wares and, during the Second World War, this was all they produced.
Their “Everyday Range” with its green base colour and fruit and floral designs, continued to be very successful, so the range was increased to include Hydrangea, Vine and Grape, Poppy and Daisy.
In this same period, the lustre ranges were ‘standardised’.
The 1950’s were probably the most productive period in the Carlton Ware history.
Most of their pieces now contained the word ‘Handpainted’ on the back stamp, regardless of whether it was or not! In 1958, the company officially changed its name to Carlton Ware Ltd, but there were poorer times ahead.
Cuthbert Wiltshaw died in 1966 and without Cuthbert at the helm nothing was particularly successful and by 1989 the Receivers were called in.
However, in 1997 Francis Joseph acquired the Carlton Ware name together with a small number of moulds and a few pre-production models. It is a tribute to Francis Joseph and Carlton Collectors that today the name has been rejuvenated, and the products being made are eagerly sought after.