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Introduction: The Art Pottery of Moorcroft

David J Pym, Antiques - The Art Pottery of William & Walter Moorcroft


William Moorcroft was born into an established pottery family in Burslem, Staffordshire in 1872.

He trained in London at the School of Art, South Kensington. In 1897 he Joined a large earthenware manufacturer James Macintyre & Co., Staffordshire, as their art pottery designer, the company was interested in expanded their design and production of art pottery.

Initially decorating Macintyre’s existing wares he very quickly introduced new shapes and designs.

Using raised slip decoration in floral and Art Nouveau forms he soon had great success with Moorcroft’s Florian Ware. By 1904 it was being purchased in major stores in London, Paris and the USA. His superb designs and techniques soon made the wares stand out from other pottery manufacturers. He also won his first Gold Medal in 1904.

The wares have one of the Macintrye’s backstamps together with William’s initials or signature.

In this initial period, the signature was usually in green, by 1920 it changed to mostly blue.

Some early examples together with some tablewares were not signed by William.

 In 1913 William left Macintyre’s and established his own custom built pottery factory nearby.

The Macintyre backstamp, of course, disappeared from the new wares forever.

New designs appeared and the range was expanded to cater for a larger audience and market.

The changing tastes in the 1920’s saw Moorcroft produce brighter more advanced designs to complement the Art Deco designs from other manufacturers.

The tableware range was successful, new exciting landscape designs were successfully introduced in the 1920’s, this included the superb introduction of Flambe wares.

Having survived the Second World War largely on the factories export success, William died in 1945. His son Walter Moorcroft returned from the army in France to take over the Pottery.

Walter proved to be a successful designer in his own right. He continued making William’s past designs and then produced many of his own designs until his retirement in 1987.

Most items were signed by Walter’s initials, ‘WM’.

His best period was probably 1945 until 1960 when particularly fine Flambes were produced by improving the original techniques of his father.

Today, the same factory still produces fine designs and wares using very similar techniques.

Most new designs are made in fairly small numbers, and usually discontinued after 3-5 years.

The collectors continually have new and exciting designs to choose from, the factory can be visited at Burslem, Staffordshire where there is also a museum to visit.

David J Pym Antiques is an authorised distributor of modern Moorcroft Pottery.


Recommended Book:- Moorcroft 1897-1993 by Paul Atterbury ISBN 0 903685 33 7.

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