In the history of Moorcroft Pottery two players emerge, that is William and his son Walter. The father William innovated Moorcroft pottery and his son carried on the tradition. It is generally agreed that the father was the great figure in this unfolding event. His innovation and quality is revered the world over. Born in Burslem, England in 1872 he studied in schools of craft and obtained his Art Masters Certificate in 1897. He went on to work at James McIntyre & Co in Burslem. Here he produced the early works of Aurelian and went on to be the innovator of MacIntyre Ware.
This produce the Florian Ware, Later MacIntyre Ware,Landscape Pattern and Lustre Ware for Liberty & Co.A lot of this production was to do with utilitarian function such as table ware Thereafter he moved to Cobridge and arguably produce the Art pottery for which Moorcroft is defined by the most discerning collectors around the world. His work is venerated in countries such as USA, England, Canada, South Africa, Australasia and parts of Asia. His style initially embraced the Art Nouveau period and though it evolved into a more contemporary form it still kept the organic flowing concept of the Nouveau period. The technique was basically unchanged and that was slipware appliqué technique with under glaze colouring. The finish glaze was mostly a deep gloss or a semi matt or a salt glaze. Sometimes pewter or silver mounts were applied.
Hollow Ware: Consisted of bowls, vases, tazza’s, tobacco jars, covered jars, single and twin handle jugs.
The vases are classic shapes with or without lip or foot. Shapes are often classic or Oriental inspired such as the Meiping vase shape.
Flat Ware: Plates, table chargers, wall chargers, plaques
Finish: This is generally slip decorated with under glaze coloration and then over glazed to give a matt to heavy gloss Some Wares were given a flambé treatment. Pewter or silver mounts were used sometimes. These were often made for Liberty and can give them more authority.
This is often personal but the most desirable consist of beautifully executed works which harmonise the shape colour and design.Claremont Toadstool,Watatah and Landscape designs are at the top as well as the Spanish and Fish designs Value depends on the number of fish on the piece. Executed in the Eventide or Moonlit Blue pallet is much more desirable as is Flambé. Here one must remember that flambé is not just flambé but each piece has to be assessed in its own way. It could be too dark or too light. So collecting requires an eye. Its just not a pat off thing. Salt glaze is generally not for the true collector, whilst a sheen matt together good subject matter may be okay. Boring Patterns such as the Yacht or Waving Corn pattern won’t get much attention but there are always exceptions.
All pottery produced is subject to chipping or damaged. It is then often invisibly repaired. So well that even the experts can’t tell. If this is the case and the piece is very rare then this may not matter,because the rareness and difficult to obtain.Damage to any collectable pottery drops the value, sometimes dramatically. Generally repaired Moorcroft is not desirable and difficult to sell on. Collectors don’t like it. So move around with your UV lamp and take council from other collectors and dealers. The auction houses are not of much use generally.
Article Source: Mel Cohen
Dating Moorcroft Pottery
The moorcroft pottery has mainly remained in the hands of one family since its creation and Moorcroft mark changes have been quite few.
The main Moorcroft marks changed as William Moorcroft moved from Macintyre & Co, at the end of the 19th century and then when Walter Moorcroft took over from his father.
The Moorcroft marks remained steady until the modern owners instigated a system of dating and then again until modern Moorcroft design studio artists, where allowed to mark the Moorcroft pottery they personally designed or created.
Modern Moorcroft marks continue to become more elaborate and to provide more and more information.
Moorcroft collectors should be aware of the Silver Stripe that sometimes appears and is almost always through the WM monogram. The Moorcroft silver stripe denotes a second quality or imperfect piece that has failed to pass the strict quality control that Moorcroft demands. These pieces are only ever sold at discounted prices in the Moorcroft factory shop.
Moorcroft Year Cyphers
- 1990 – an impressed arrow
- 1991 – an impressed bell
- 1992 – a candlestick
- 1993 – a diamond shape
- 1994 – an eye
- 1995 – a flag
- 1996 – a gate
- 1997 – a HC monogram for the centenary year
- 1998 – an iron
- 1999 – a jug / pitcher
- 2000 – a key with a double ‘M’ for the teeth