An Introduction to Carlton Ware

[ad#muted blue rectangle]When you mention Carlton Ware to people one of the first things they usually think of is the Guinness toucan, which was first introduced in 1950 or the mugs on legs, commonly known as ‘walking ware’ which first appeared in the 1970s. There is, however, a lot more to Carlton Ware and their colourful ceramics are much sought after and very collectable.

Carlton Ware began in 1890 when James Frederick Wiltshaw and brothers JA and WH Robinson formed the company Wiltshaw and Robinson in Stoke-on-Trent and named it the Carlton Works.  There was huge competition in the pottery industry but Carlton Ware got off to a good start with ‘Blush ware’, a range of floral patterns applied to tinted earthenware.  It was very successful and soon proved serious competition for Fieldings Crown Devon, who were the market leader at the time.

Disaster struck when James Wiltshaw, who was by now the sole proprietor, was killed by a train 1918.  His young son Frederick Cuthbert Wiltshaw took over and allowed the designers to explore and introduce the new lustrous glazes and exotic patterns inspired by the orient, which were very fashionable at the time.  He saw the work of a young artist, Violet Elmer, at a local exhibition in the mid 1920s and offered her a job.  She accepted and it it proved inspirational, it brought the company huge success. Continue reading “An Introduction to Carlton Ware”

A Beginner’s Guide to Art Deco China

Art Deco is geometric, angular and streamlined and the colours are usually bold and dramatic. The Art Deco style was applied to decorative art as well as architecture. Art Deco is associated with luxury, style and high living.

First seen at the international exhibition in Paris in 1925 Art Deco was in vougue during the 1920s and 1930s and was a great inspiration to British ceramicists.  Art Deco ceramics were extremely popular.  Their bright, colourful design brought a sense of fun and contemporary style to the home.  The First World War had changed women’s position in society and many of them were keen to support the newly emerging female designers, such as Clarice Cliff, Charlotte Rhead and Susie Cooper.

For the collector the choices are endless – you can collect by shape, by factory, by designer, by colour, by motif or by year.  Clarice Cliff’s design made at the A J Wilkinson factory were avidly collected with the new Bizarre range being especially popular.  Apart from being a surface designer Clarice had also trained as a modeller and she was interested in developing glazes.  The combination of these three makes her designs so interesting.  While Clarice Cliff pottery can be very expensive there are affordable pieces to be had.  Crocus was made from 1928 to 1964 and is one of the most affordable, while Honolulu was only made for about a year and is difficult to find and expensive. Continue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Art Deco China”