Posts Tagged ‘Spode’

Hot Lane

August 28, 2010

Ann Warburton (1713-1798) doesn’t get mentioned in most writings about 18th and 19th century Staffordshire pottery.  But she had an impressive resume just the same.

It all began when the wealthy Biddulph family, on whose property Joseph Warburton (1694-1752) rented, needed cash in hand more than long term rents.  Joseph bought a plot on Hot Lane and jumped into the salt-fired white stoneware business.  His son John (1720-1761) took over in 1759.

When Ann married John, she brought her considerable knowledge of enameling on both white stoneware and creamware to the business.  She had learned these skills from her father, Ralph Daniel, another prominent local potter.  Ann and John Warburton eventually teamed up with neighbor Richard Adams, an in-law of the famous potter Thomas Whieldon (Josiah Wedgwood was Whieldon’s junior partner at the time, and Josiah Spode his apprentice).  Enameled white stoneware from the Warburton’s Hot Lane pottery sold very well, especially in Holland.

After John’s death in 1761, Ann ran the pottery as Ann Warburton & Son.  Josiah Wedgwood was impressed enough with Ann’s work to send her some of his own creamware for enameling.  She went on to out-compete Wedgwood in the southern states of the lucrative American market.  Her son Thomas died in the same year as Ann, in 1798.

Ann’s talent was such that she could handily compete with Dutch enameled ware on its own turf, decorate for Wedgwood, and out sell him in parts of his largest market.  Ann Warburton deserves more credit today for her accomplishments.

The name of her pottery’s location is pretty cool too – Hot Lane.

warburton pottery

The Warburton Pottery on Hot Lane.

Readings:
The Rise of the Staffordshire Potteries. John Thomas.  Augustus Kelly Publishers/New York.  1971.

If These Pots Could Talk. Ivor Noël Hume.  University Press of New England/Hanover, NH.  2001.

Ceramics in America. Ian Quimby, Ed.  University Press of Virginia/Charlottesville.  1972.

When Pottery Meant Something

February 28, 2010

First this happened, then that happened, then the other thing happened.  Then all that ended and something else happened…  Not very meaningful, of course – unless you’re an outline junkie.

But in the mid 1700’s something actually did happen.  In England anyway.  Super organized pottery factories burst on the scene.  SpodeMintonWedgwood.  Such names as these made the six towns collectively known as Stoke-on-Trent synonymous with exacting precision, a dizzying stylistic range and ruthless marketing – and large numbers of unskilled and child laborers.  Staffordshire’s pottery firms radically changed the face of pottery.  Within decades, they would practically dominate the world.  The one run by Western Europe, at least.

The days of small, family run country potteries were numbered.  An entire way of life would soon disappear.  You’d think these potters would riot.  They didn’t.  The new stuff rolling off the assembly lines hardly impacted  (just yet) the need for “coarseware.”  Staffordshire’s initial target was more up-scale.  Like pewter.

Pewterers and other high-end craftspeople had enjoyed a monopoly on most upper class tables for generations.  To them, the rise of Staffordshire meant disaster.  An Exeter newspaper article of April 4, 1776 says it all:

“Last week the tinners in Cornwall rose in consequence of the introduction into that country of such large quantities of Staffordshire and other earthenware.  About a hundred in a body went to Redruth, on the market day, and broke all the wares they could meet with, the sale of which was intended in that town.  From thence they went to Falmouth for the same purpose, and because they could not force their way into the Town Hall, where a large parcel of Staffordshire and other wares were lodged, they were about to set fire to it, had not Mr. Allison, the printer and alderman of that town, with another gentleman, pacified them, by promising to discourage the sale and use of these wares by every means in their power, and by going to a pewterer’s and bespeaking a quantity of pewter dishes and plates to evince their readiness to serve them.”

A picture paints a thousand words.  Sometimes newspaper articles do too.

Readings:
The English Country Pottery, Its History and Techniques. Peter Brears.  Charles Tuttle Co./Rutland, VT.  1971.

The Story of Craft.  The Craftsman’s Role in Society. Edward Lucie-Smith.  Phaidon/Oxford.  1981.

The Rise of the Staffordshire Potteries. John Thomas.  Augustus Kelly Publishers/New York.  1971.