The first Walking Ware teaset was designed by Roger Michell in 1973 from the drawings of Danka Napiorkowska’s college sketchbook. The first eight teasets were hand-made studio pottery, thrown and turned by Roger and decorated by Danka. These are very rare and very difficult to find.
These teasets were a huge success when they exhibited in Christopher Strangeway’s shop, as nobody had seen anything like it and there was such demand that Roger and Christopher had to look for a manufacturer in order to fulfil the orders. Anthony Wood at Cartlton Ware was prepared to take the commission and they were prepared to use a differnt backstamp so that they could distinguish it from its other pottery.
The relationship worked well and for the next 13 years over 50 new designs were produced. Interesting from a collector’s point of view is the fact that they designs that were least popular when they were first made are the most desirable now. If you can get your hands on a Moscow Olympics mug, of which fewer than 30 were made, you would have to pay between £350 and £550. The Carribean teaset would cost you over £400 and the French Maid cup would set you back between £80 and £120. Walking Ware is going up in price.
A new collector can still put together a small collection for a modes outlay of around £200 to £300. This would buy you a teaput, milk jug, sugar bowl and some cups. The original shape egg cups can be bought for £10 to £30 each.
Prices on eBay can vary depending on the time of year, whereas if you buy from a dealer the prices are more stable and you goods should arrive intact. A reputable dealer can also help you with building up a good collection, advising, finding, buying and selling. You should also be careful of fakes. Roger Michell’s wife Julia has written A Collector’s Guide to Walking Ware, which is invaluable for a collector, giving advice on the range, colour, patterns and authenticity of the designs.
The French teaset was first designed for the Brittany studio and has remained very popular. It can be commissioned in colours and patterns of choice and some of the early ones used a very pretty French lace pattern. Another teaset was made in 2007 consisting of 12 pieces more in the style of the older Walking Ware. Every item in this teaset is strictly limited to 100 pieces and all are signed and numbered by Roger.
Both teasets can be bought directly from the potter at lustre.co.uk. Older items of Walking Ware can be bought from authorised Walking Ware dealer at decorativearts.net and walkingwarepottery.co.uk.