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Moorcroft Pottery

Born in 1873, William Moorcroft first showed his abilities as a truly innovative designer and artist

27/06/2024     Blog

One of my favourite ceramic factories is Moorcroft. Last year I  visited the factory in Burslem near Stoke and was lucky enough to go on a factory tour and see the crafts people paint the wonderful and colourful tube lined designs.

Although Moorcroft is a successful tale of father and son, it is the father, William who is most highly acclaimed.  Born in 1873, William Moorcroft first showed his abilities as a truly innovative designer and artist while working for James Macintyre & Co from 1897.  During his time with the company, he produced the famous Art Nouveau-inspired Florian Ware which was retailed through the London department store of Liberty. While Moorcroft was producing designs for Macintyre they were actually all credited and signed personally by him helping him establish a name and reputation before eventually splitting from Macintyre and setting up on his own in 1913. 

William continued to produce ceramics of great quality and design using new techniques such as tube-lining and difficult ones like the flambé glaze to mark his pieces out as exceptional, until his death in 1945.  He produced many patterns and designs some of the most desirable being Hazledene with its combination of green, yellow or blue tones, Spanish with its dramatic scrolling flowers and deep red and green pallet and Moonlit Blue with its striking cobalt blue ground.  The early designs are very popular with collectors especially the toadstools of the Claremont pattern as well as the early Poppy and Iris designs. These designs are highly sought after at auction with some pieces achieving several thousands of pounds.

William was awarded many medals and commendations for his beautiful ceramics and in 1928 they were granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Mary who was an avid collector of Moorcroft Pottery. Pieces at this period have a paper label attached to the base with the words “Potter to Queen Mary”.

Walter Moorcroft, William’s son, took over after his death and continued to produce work of high standard, particularly new floral designs including Hibiscus, Magnolia and Lily.  However, the most sought after Moorcroft pieces remain those produced pre-1945 by William himself.  It is important to note that William Moorcroft signed or monogrammed all his pieces, while his son, Walter, only did so with those over 13cm (5in) in height.

Today Moorcroft follows in the footsteps of William and Walter with designers such as Emma Bossons, Vicky Lovatt, Kerry Goodwin and Nicola Slaney. They usually date and sign all their pieces and the most desirable are the limited editions or trail pieces. These are usually one off designs or different colour ways that were not chosen for general real ease.

So why not collect a particular period, pattern or designer and as always we are happy to answer any questions you may have.