British art pottery manufacturer
In 1897, James Macintyre & Co. Ltd, a pottery producer in Staffordshire, hired William Moorcroft as a designer. Within a year, he took complete control of the company’s art pottery workshop. Moorcroft’s first line of pottery, Florian Ware, was highly successful and earned him a gold medal at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Unlike the norm, he signed his name or initials on most of the ceramics he designed and oversaw. Over time, Macintyre’s success overshadowed his other manufacturing efforts, leading to resentment from his employers. In 1912, they decided to wind down his studio, prompting him to start his own business. The following year, he established a new facility for his pottery production.
“Moocroft’s art pottery is a testament to the timeless beauty and impeccable craftsmanship that defines British ceramics. Each piece tells a story, capturing the essence of artistic expression and capturing the hearts of collectors worldwide.”
Aside from their renowned tube-lined, hand-painted art pottery, Moorcroft also manufactured reasonably priced domestic tableware. Queen Mary, a devoted collector of Moorcroft’s works, granted him a royal warrant in 1928, further boosting his popularity. After William Moorcroft died in 1945, his oldest son, Walter Moorcroft, took over the business and continued its development. 1946 the company’s royal warrant was renewed in Walter Moorcroft’s name.
During its establishment and under Walter Moorcroft’s leadership, the company partnered with the renowned London retailer Liberty. In 1962, Moorcroft purchased the shareholding previously held by Liberty.
However, rising fuel and labour costs made Moorcroft’s labour-intensive techniques unsustainable. In 1984, a portion of the company was sold to Roper Brothers in an attempt to mass-produce Moorcroft pottery. After this endeavour failed, Roper Brothers’ share was resold to Hugh Edwards and Richard Dennis in 1986. Dennis and his wife, Sally Tuffin, a ceramics designer, left the company in 1992, leaving the Edwards family as the sole owners (which remained the case in 2008).
Walter Moorcroft stepped down as the design director in 1987 but continued contributing until his final design, ‘Rock of Ages,’ debuted in 1999. In 1993 Rachel Bishop joined the company as a senior designer at 24. In 1997, Moorcroft celebrated its centennial by claiming the founding of the Macintyre studio under William Moorcroft in 1897 as its founding year. The following year, a new Moorcroft Design Studio was opened, and additional designers were hired to expand the product line.
William Moorcroft designed the Aurelian Ware collection of high-Victorian ceramics for Macintyre’s early career, featuring transfer-printed and enamelled decorations in solid red, blue, and gold. His art nouveau-influenced Florian Ware, which was introduced shortly after, was hand-painted. The design was delineated in trailing slip using a process known as tube lining. Since then, practically all of Moorcroft’s art pottery has employed this approach to distinguish it from mass-produced pottery. Both the father and the son experimented with high-temperature flambé techniques, which resulted in high glazing with bright colour.
Later, Walter Moorcroft’s designs exhibited the more straightforward aesthetic that was popular then. Patterns from the Moorcroft Design Studio show strong inspirations from William Moorcroft’s early days and modern breakthroughs in colouration techniques. They usually display plates, vases, pin dishes, lamp bases, and jars of various shapes and sizes. They are aimed towards the luxury end of the collector and gift markets.
Works for sale
- Art Deco Era William Moorcroft Wavy Corn Art Pottery Vase – $2995
- Pair of Tall William Moorcroft Poppy Patterned Art Pottery Candlesticks – $1995
- Moorcroft Pottery CL1 Clock, Queen’s Choice Edition Ceramic Art – $258.27
- Large William Moorcroft Art Pottery Pomegranate Lidded Ginger Jar or Vase -$2699
- Signed Moorcroft Pottery Blue Pansy Flower Bowl – $185
- English Moorcroft Pottery Bowl – $125
- Vintage William Moorcroft Pomegranate Art Pottery Vase – $1595
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, February 19). Moorcroft. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:24, May 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moorcroft&oldid=1007778589
Recommended Reading Ceramic Design Books
The Ceramic Design Book: A Gallery of Contemporary Work. (2000). United States: Lark. https://amzn.to/3KwQLEG
Complete Pottery Techniques: Design, Form, Throw, Decorate and More, with Workshops from Professional Makers. (2019). United States: DK Publishing.
Coutts, H. (2001). The art of ceramics: European ceramic design 1500-1830. United Kingdom: Yale University Press.
Higgins, R., & Robinson, C. S. (2010). William De Morgan : arts and crafts potter. Shire
Lane, P. (1998). Ceramic Form: Design & Decoration. Kiribati: A. & C. Black.
Leigh Ford, K. (2021). Pottery for Beginners: Projects for Beautiful Ceramic Bowls, Mugs, Vases and More. United Kingdom: Page Street Publishing.
Morris, T. (2018). New Wave Clay: Ceramic Design, Art and Architecture. Netherlands: Frame Publishers.
Richerson, D. W. (2012). The Magic of Ceramics. Wiley.
Schwartzkopf, D. (2020). Creative Pottery: Innovative Techniques and Experimental Designs in Thrown and Handbuilt Ceramics. United States: Quarry Books.
Treggiden, K. (2021). Urban Potters: Makers in the City. Belgium: Thames & Hudson.