The following Potteries and designers have been listed along with short articles to give a wider feel of the type of wares that were being produced at the time Myott was outputting its famous Art Deco ceramics. There was a literal explosion of creativity in the 1920’s and 1930’s most notably in the Staffordshire Potteries area of England. Many collectors of Myott generalise by collecting these popular wares also.
Those of you accustomed to seeing Kim Hughes’s Myott display at antique fairs around England will probably have also noticed his selection of Burleigh ware jugs also. Well known for their ornate character handle jugs, originally termed ‘flower’ jugs, handle designs included; kingfisher, flamingo, pheasant, dragon, parrot and squirrel. Some shapes are rarer than others, for example the kingfisher will command about £150 at the moment, with the pheasant perhaps five or six hundred. Some of the rare shapes have been known to sell for well over £1000 – look out for the rare guardsman jug!
Charles Wilkes designed some of the early examples and due to their immense popularity a number of other designs were produced such as village blacksmith and butterfly, with a sporting selection including tennis player, cricketer and golfer. Burgess & Leigh’s most notable designer however was Charlotte Rhead, who joined the company in 1926 introducing tube-lining as new technique to the pottery (see the article about Charlotte Rhead for further information). Charlotte Rhead predominantly worked on Art Deco styled pieces featuring stylised landscapes, fruit and flora.
Burgess and Leigh’s roots lay in the pottery of Hulme & Booth. The company then moved to Middleport, Burslem, North of Myott’s Upper Hanley Pottery in 1889. The Leigh family gained complete control in 1912 after the death of R.S. Burgess, and the company in still in production today.
Popularly known for its chintz (tightly packed floral design) output, Royal Winton originally began as Grimwade Brothers in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England in the vicinity of Myott’s Upper Hanley Pottery. It was probably the highly successful launch of chintz ware in 1928, during the Art Deco era, that Myott decided to emulate the creativity of the Royal Winton trademark in the 1930’s (Myott’s chintz patterns include May Flower, sometimes referred to as Spring Flower, and Summer Flower).
Founded by Leonard Lumsden Grimwade, the original Hanley factory was called the Elgin Pottery. Grimwade Brothers incorporated Rubian Art Pottery in 1913 with the Atlas China soon to follow with an amalgamation. Leonard was highly active in developing new techniques in the pottery trade, including Duplex Lithographic transfers and the Enamel Climax Rotary Kiln.
1995 saw new owners for the company and a range of wares were relaunched using original patterns.
From a Myott collectors point of view the most appealing Shelley wares were produced during the Art Deco period. Six well known ranges made at this time are Eve, Harmony, Mode, Regent, Queen Anne and Vogue. Mode teasets are very popular among collectors – displaying geometric shapes and patterns.
The chronology of the company is rather convoluted, spanning an era from 1860 – when one Henry Wileman built the Foley China Works alongside his Foley Potteries – right up to 1966 with a take over by Allied English Potteries which merged with the Doulton Group in 1971.
J.B. Shelley became a partner to Wileman in 1872 and worked along side his son Percy Shelley, who in 1896 built a new factory producing earthenware hand-painted art wares designed by Frederick Rhead. The name Shelley China was registered as a response to a change of direction with regard to supplying the home market. Shelley Potteries Limited was formed in 1929 with new styles being adopted such as dripware – where applied colour is allowed to run.
Wade, Heath & Co are renowned for their production of Art Deco nursery ware typified by a Walt Disney range of characters that are extremely collectable at present.
The original pottery was formed by Henry Hallam in 1810 to produce ceramic industrial fittings. The company then moved to Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England, just North of Myott’s Upper Hanley Pottery in the middle of the nineteenth century and was taken over by George Wade in the beginnings of the twentieth century. In the 1920’s the company divided to form A.J. Wade & Co. and Wade, Heath & Co. and it was the latter that produced the vast range of products with backstamp ‘Wadeheath England by permission Walt Disney’. The Flaxman Ware range or diverse Art Deco products was also launched at about this time, including functional wares and also decorative goods which may appeal to the discerning Myott Deco collector.
Synonymous with Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper, Charlotte Rhead is one of the three great lady Art Deco designers of our time. Home taught artistically, Charlotte went on to study at the Fenton Art School, Stoke-on-Trent, England – just south of Myott’s Hanley pottery - followed by a number of positions held within various factories as a tube-liner and enameller. Tube-lining is an intricate decorating technique, whereby liquid clay is piped from a rubber bag via a glass nozzle on to the pottery piece. Later this method of design became one of Charlotte’s trademarks. Charlotte then joined the newly established family business along with her sister. Things there didn’t work out and in 1913 Charlotte and her father (in the capacity of Art Director) moved to Wood & Sons.
Burgess & Leigh was the next step, and this is where Charlotte’s tube-lining skills came in to play until 1931 when the firm of A.G. Richardson became her next employer. A return to Woods in 1942 saw copious new designs up until Charlotte’s untimely death in 1947.
The designs of Charlotte Rhead were produced right through to 1960 and her work is highly collectable today. Some of her designs include Sylvan and Florentine for Burgess & Leigh, and Byzantine and Persian Rose for A.G. Richardson.
The most distinguished of the Art Deco designers is Clarice Cliff. Most people have heard the name and are familiar with the bold colours and designs of the famous lady from Staffordshire.
Born in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England (just north Of Myott’s Alexander Pottery in Cobridge) in 1899, Clarice Cliff attended the Burslem School of Art and a year later the Royal College of Art. The Staffordshire firm of A.J. Wilkinson & Co. took Clarice on as an apprentice at the age of 17, and by the 1920’s she was involved in the decoration of large jars painted in bright colours and gilt known as Tibetan ware. However the style Clarice developed that really stamped her mark literally on the ceramic’s scene was Bizarre ware. Designed off her own back for a trade fair in 1928, Bizarre ware was so instantly popular that by the following year the entire Wilkinson’s factory was dedicated to its production. Bright colours and angular designs typified this marked Art Deco form.
Other ranges followed such as Fantasque, Farmhouse, Biarritz and an extensive collection of shapes decorated with Crocus patterns. Flowers, surreal landscapes and geometric designs were applied to a vast range of wares and were often purchased by the general public for special occasions such as wedding presents. Clarice went on to marry the boss of Wilkinsons – Colley Shorter. After the death of her husband in 1963 Clarice sold the company to Midwinter. Some of the rarer pieces of Clarice Cliff today command immense prices – especially the more geometric patterns. Clarice Cliff’s influence (along with her contemporary’s, such as Charlotte Rhead and Susie Cooper) was probably the prime reason for Myott’s switch to more ornate art wares from their core table ware production. The plate pictured on the Home Page is Myott’s attempt to emulate the style of Clarice (possibly a trial piece that didn’t quite go to plan). Myott’s female designer Gloria Gladwyn may have been an echo of the design trend set so firmly in stone by the great Clarice Cliff.
Along with Clarice Cliff and Charlotte Rhead, Susie Cooper is regarded as one of the great lady Art Deco ceramics designers of the twentieth century. Born 1902 in Stansfield, near Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England just a few miles North of Myott’s pottery in Hanley - like Clarice Cliff - Susie Cooper attended the Burslem School of Art. Qualifying for a scholarship at the London Royal College of Art whilst beginning her career at A. E. Gray & Co. becoming house designer in 1924 until leaving Gray’s in 1929. Susie Cooper developed designs in bands, swirls, floral patterns and bold geometric Art Deco patterns.
Relying on her previous successes, Cooper set up on her own in 1929 using space at Wood & Sons Pottery, producing tableware shapes. In 1931 she moved to the Crown works, Burslem. Around this time Susie Cooper made use of techniques such as lithography and sgraffito (scratching of designs in the clay).
Despite a fire in 1942, the company bounced back into production after a year and partook in the Festival of Britain in 1951. Another major fire in 1957 forced a merger with R.H. and S.L. Plant, and this new enterprise was subsequently taken over by Wedgwood in 1966. Susie remained designing at Wedgwood for a number of years and died in 1994.
Susie Cooper’s vast range of wares is highly collectable today with some of the geometric forms and patterns commanding high prices.