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Maling pottery

Maling produced pottery in the North East of England for just over two hundred years.

04/04/2024     Blog

I am always drawn to the brightly coloured ceramics from the 1930’s and this week a collection of one of my favourite factories Maling was consigned for sale for our next Fine Art sale to be held in June. It’s a vast collection of several hundred pieces so I thought I would tell you about the history of the Maling Ceramic company. 

Maling produced pottery in the North East of England for just over two hundred years. It was founded at North Hylton near Sunderland in 1762 and then transferred to Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1817.

The company really took off in the 1850’s when the owner Christopher Thompson Maling II devised a way to make pottery containers by machine rather than by hand. This of course speeded up the production process and led to huge orders from manufacturers of goods as diverse as marmalade, meat and fish pastes, ointments, and printing ink. In 1908, with the sale of the packaging goods still buoyant, Maling introduced a new trading name for their decorative wares. This was Cetem – being a phonetic abbreviation of CT Maling and Sons. The following three decades were to be Maling’s heyday.

A succession of designers was employed to take the pottery from the years of post-Victorian elegance through to Art Deco exuberance. By the 1920s Maling was producing over two hundred new designs a year in a successful attempt to meet the changing tastes of the British public. Many of these designs were from the hand of the father and son team Lucien Emile and Lucien George Boullemier. Both had been recruited from the Staffordshire potteries. They advertised their wares as “The trademark of Excellence”.

1924 saw the reintroduction of the Maling name which was used simultaneously with Cetem until the latter was dropped in the early 1930s.

By the outbreak of war, the Maling family members who had been directly involved in running the pottery were deceased and the business was in the hands of trustees. After the war the pottery came into the hands of new owners, the Hoult family. Although investment was made, the scale of operations was reduced and the Maling company began a slow spiral of decline fewer new patterns were introduced and fewer products sold.

Eventually, competition from more modern and streamlined potteries caused Maling to close in 1963. In two centuries it had produced over 16,500 patterns. Items ranged from simple kitchen wares such as pudding basins to highly gilded, lustred and enamelled pieces for display in fashionable homes.

Our collection shows the development of Maling’s wares from marmalade jars, blue and white wares, commemorative beakers to the colourful and lustre designs that Maling is best known for.