Trade Journal UK

PGGTR 1935 August - Part 2 Editorial 2

Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review

August 1935 - continued (985-1005)

Art Evolution in British Pottery

By a Member of Our Staff

A most interesting and instructive exhibition is in progress just now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, and everyone who is interested in the development of art in relation to pottery manufacture should make a point of seeing it. It is the second of a series which it has been decided that the Museum shall hold in collaboration with the Council for Art and Industry, and its function, which is to show some of the best work done in English pottery, both old and new, whilst illustrating at the same time the living tradition which has been maintained in connection with the art of the industry throughout its long career, would seem to have been abundantly realised.

The object of this exhibition is, of course, broader than that of the Royal Academy effort at the beginning of the present year; which was to indicate specifically how art is being correlated with industry at the present time. There has, therefore, been a wider field from which to draw in connection with the present exhibition; besides which, anyone who is interested in pottery on the commercial, as well as the art side, can approach the exhibits with the comfortable feeling that commercial considerations are a thing apart, and that therefore the atmosphere is not charged quite so electrically as was that of the Royal Academy some six months ago.

In a series of seven “rooms,” which are really fairly spacious cubicles, the organisers have sought to trace the progress of pottery art under various heads. In Room 1 there is pottery ranging from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries and extending into the first half of the eighteenth century — otherwise expressed, pre-Wedgwood pottery. Stoneware and enamelled earthenware are seen here, for the most part characteristically simple in decoration, but there are also examples of the slip-decorated and coloured glaze wares of John Astbury and Thomas Whieldon which, as the organisers point out, although they were often admirable in design and made no pretension to refinement, have passed along to later generations a tradition which has lent vitality and no small measure of aesthetic merit to many simple types of earthenware and stoneware which are made for common uses at the present day.

In order to illustrate these a number of modern stonewares are shown in contiguity, including productions by Doulton & Co., Ltd., Lambeth, and Bourne & Son, Ltd., Denby. It is interesting thus to see, side by side, a fine example of a stoneware christening bowl produced at Nottingham in 1726 — a very commendable piece of stoneware potting, considering its period — and the modern accomplishments in Lambeth salt-glazed ware, or the famous “Epic” ware of the Denby Pottery.

In Room 2, which is chiefly devoted to tablewares of the latter part of the eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth, one sees many beautiful examples of English cream-coloured earthenware, as well as salt-glazed earthenware such as was produced in the Staffordshire Potteries and was sent to Liverpool to be printed by Sadler and Green. The development of design — particularly in regard to printings from engravings — is clearly traced. Wedgwood and Spode triumphs in this connection are on view in close proximity, together with Leeds cream-colour ware and some very fine examples of the creations of Miles Mason at Lane Delph in 1800; New Hall porcelain produced at Shelton about 1820, and Davonport printed ware produced at Longport about 1848. Alongside these are modern creations in tablewares, to which the organisers justly pay the tribute: “The modern tablewares in cream colour and porcelain commonly show, as in the past, a technical perfection unapproached by any of the numerous foreign imitations.”

There are also in Room 2 examples of work by independent decorators, and amongst these should be mentioned a modern painted earthenware design by Alfred Powell executed for the firm of Josiah Wedgwood & Son, Ltd., and a decoration of dis-tinctiveness produced by Miss Dora Billington for the firm of J. & G. Meakin, Ltd., Hanley. One is interested to note that those responsible for the exhibition mention in regard to such patterns as these that although such work served to recover to a noteworthy extent the vitality and spontaneity, as well as the fancy of the earlier painted cream-colour wares, “such qualities can, of course, be looked for in factory work only when the rhythms of the design to be copied are within the competence of the craftsman employed, who must virtually re-create it rather than attempt to reproduce the inimitable caligraphy of another.” There is quite a measure of sound truth in this.

Rooms 3 and 4 include for the most part examples of work by a number of contemporary studio potters. Here, we consider, the examples shown are not quite of the same degree of interest as those of the other five rooms. Possibly, however, could we but have inspected the examples at greater leisure, we might have been able to trace a greater connection between these efforts and the maintenance of an English tradition, than we were able to do in the cursory inspection with which we had to remain content.

Room 5 includes specimens of figure work both of the older and newer types of stoneware, earthenware and porcelain. Chelsea porcelain figures of the eighteenth century are shown side by side with the sculptured work of Mr. John R. Skeeping, done for the famous Wedgwood firm at Etruria, and countless creations of a much less serious type produced by the young students of the Art School at Burslem.

Room 6 includes decorative pieces made under modern commercial conditions in juxtaposition with some notable examples of painted earthenware dishes of the eighteenth century. Here there is an obvious link of tradition between the two.

It is not until after inspecting the last Room (No. 7) that one is able to take in the complete


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picture, for here it is that one sees modern British porcelain — or had we not better call it china? — and much of it at its best. It is here shown how, under modern, economic conditions, such work as was characteristic of the old Chelsea porcelain, which represented the highest level of luxury, is no longer practicable or even desirable; but that there are still links between the old and the modern, and this is particularly cited by showing alongside modern wares some beautifully painted eighteenth century Royal Crown Derby china and a simple but intriguing decoration of the famous New Hall bone china that was made at Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent, about the year 1825.

In this last room are to be seen some fine examples of china made and decorated under present-day commercial conditions. Amongst these we took note especially of some beautiful pieces designed by Mr. J. W. Wadsworth for the Worcester China Co.; a charming pattern designed by Mr. T. Hassall for the Spode-Copeland organisation; a silver-banded teaset of special attractiveness designed by Mr. Eric Olsen for Jackson & Gosling’s “Grosvenor” china; an appealing design for a service designed by Freda Beardmore for E. Brain & Co., Ltd., and quite a new style of decoration for earthenware dinnerware produced by Mr. J. F. Price on behalf of Pountney & Co., Ltd., of Bristol.

One could not help noticing, however, that one of the teasets on show here was designed by a Frenchman for an English firm, and his name freely appears in connection therewith. We speculated as to whether this was intentional, or an oversight in view of the fact that the exhibition is supposed to be absolutely concerned with British design in connection with British pottery!

As regards the exhibition as a whole, we were very favourably impressed with it, and we believe it will serve a very useful purpose, proving helpful alike to artists, manufacturers, students of pottery and the lay public, for if the exhibits emphasise anything at all it is that there is a definite feeling now evincing itself for better-thought-out designs in pottery, even in connection with goods that must be produced for sale at low prices, well within the reach of buyers of moderate means. And even in connection with the more expensive bone china the fact would seem to be indicated that quality and charm are not necessarily associated with elaboration, but can be evinced and appreciated in quite simple garb.

Trade Openings in Argentina. — A firm in Buenos Aires wish to obtain the representation, on a commission basis, of United Kingdom manufacturers of china and earthenware domestic goods. (D.O.T. Ref. No. 33.) Applications for name and address should be made to the Department of Overseas Trade, 35, Old Queen St., S.W.1.

Trade Opening in Canada. — A firm of chinaware dealers and manufacturers’ agents at Montreal are prepared to represent United Kingdom manufacturers of English semi-porcelain dinner-ware and fancy ware, either on a commission or purchase basis, in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. [D.O.T. Ref. No. 66.] Applications for name and address should be made to the Department of Overseas Trade, 35, Old Queen St., S.W.I.

A Canadian China Department Staff.


We are glad to publish this photograph of the staff of the China Department of Woodward Stores, Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada, which we have received from the manager, Mr. J. Courtney Haddock.


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In Paris




From Our Own Correspondent

The Grand Magasin du Printemps has always made a very great thing of its pottery and glassware, and from time to time it stages some extremely interesting displays. At this year’s salon, des Artists Decorateurs, Primavera — that is what the decoration department of the Printemps store is called — shows some delightful pieces.

Variety seems to be the dominant note in this scale of ceramics, for we are treated to every possible design and display. The extremely modern is present in the shape of acrobatic dancers. These are intended to replace the bronzes on the mantelpiece.

At a recent Primavera show some of the table decorations consisted of ceramic flower holders, which kind of stretch themselves round the table.

One rarely knows just how to dress a pottery window and introduce originality at the same time. There was quite a vogue some years ago for “nude” windows: one or two pieces thrown into an expanse of window. The crisis seems to have put a stop to that, for, after all, the public likes to get an idea of what one has in one’s shop. Then, again, shopfitters never seem to understand just what the china shop wants.

One or two examples from this side of the Channel give one a pretty sound idea of what is to be seen. The latest departure comes from the Galeries Lafayette. Their window dresser has introduced small panels in the back of the windows. They are amusing and seem to help the unity of the window. Then, again, they do help to attract attention, which, after all, is just what we want.


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A Spode-Copeland Exhibition

By a Member of Our Staff


The “Brownlow” pattern, in warm colours and rich gold. Designed by Mr. Thos. Hassall.

It was our pleasure a week or two ago to inspect a very interesting exhibition at Harrods Stores of table arrangements carried out to the ideas of eminent architects and designers, the materials employed being on the one hand, rare antique tables and appointments, provided to the suggestions of a leading authority on old English furniture, and on the other hand, Spode-Copeland earthenware and china.

It would seem that there was a real purpose behind this particular exhibition, the co-operation of architects having been requisitioned in view of the fact that, in connection with home-building, it is becoming more and more appreciated that the house and its contents, to appear at their best, must be conceived as a complete unit. This fact is frequently being emphasised nowadays by our leaders of thought in art spheres.

The planning of the recent Spode-Copeland exhibition at Harrods, we could not help thinking, was but an amplification of this theory. What we learned, when we sought for information as to how the exhibition had originated, was conveyed to us in the single sentence: “It is just as important that the china should suit the furniture, and the furniture the lines of the rooms, as that the front elevation of the house should have a settled style.”

To cut a long story short, various eminent authorities were given an opportunity of giving their own personal expressions to this idea, and the following were amongst those who gave their services in this connection:— Mr. Wells Coates, Mr. J. Emberton, Mr. Frederick Gibberd, Mr. Oliver Hill, Mr. William Holford, Mrs. Agnes Pinder Davies, and Mr. R. W. Symonds. It was rightly emphasised that the collection of the ideas of authorities such as these, in a single exhibition, lent more than usual interest and importance to the event.

We might, were both the time and space at our disposal, write much of the individual table schemes which were to be inspected in this particular exhibition, and we could, without much difficulty perhaps, merely by citing the examples that were displayed, illustrate fairly conclusively how, when dealing with materials either of antique or modern impulse, there need be no dearth of schemes in the association of pottery with furniture and room decorations. And so it came about that Spode-Copeland wares were to be seen in all sorts of patterns and positionings with a view to giving a greater breadth of outlook to the harassed hostess.

The Spode-Copeland organisation, with the advantage of its age and tradition, can cater, of course, for every demand, whether what is wanted be antique or modern, and the wares displayed fully exemplified this. What a gulf, we could not help thinking, between the beautiful, old “Spode Italian” pattern, which was shown at this exhibition in connection with table settings reminiscent of that wonderful period, and the modern styles of china such as the “As You Like It” pattern, designed by Mrs. Agnes Pinder Davies, or the “Wineberry” or “Brownlow” patterns designed by Mr. Thos. Hassall, the Spode-Copeland art director.

The moral of the exhibition was that the woman who has antique furniture and good taste can, if she desires, come to possess modern china that will


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outrage neither, and its purpose was to show those who are interested in modern design how experts on modern decoration would arrange their own tables for meals.

Little urge is required at any time to write enthusiastically of the old favourites amongst the “Spode-Copeland” wares; for it may be said that the old patterns are well known everywhere, and have lost none of their old popularity; but if the exhibition of which we now write has achieved anything at all it has been to open the eyes of many people to the fact that there is much in the present-day Spode-Copeland range that is none the less attractive because it is modern in spirit.

In order to emphasise this, we illustrate three patterns.


A modern conception by Mrs. Agnes Pinder Davies. “As You Like It” is its name.


The “Wineberry” pattern, designed by Mr. Thos. Hassall.


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In one there is the Pinder Davies design to which we have already referred. It is a charming modern scheme applied to the “Gerard” shape, in brown, grey and silver, with added touches of red, upon a soft Jasmine glaze. Pleasing and invigorating it must be admitted to be. The shapes are beautifully modelled, and the design specially arranged to suit each article. By the very manner in which this pattern is rendered, one is reminded of the craftsmanship for which the Spode-Copeland factory is famous.

In another illustration is the “Wineberry” pattern, designed by Mr. Thos. Hassall, and although the theme is a conventional rendering of flower, fruit and nut, it is full of appeal. The design, which is worked in soft, bright colours, is inspired by an early seventeenth century tapestry. Again, the decoration appears upon the warm Jasmine ground, and again the “Gerard” shape shows up to pleasing effect. The engravings are so adapted as to yield a resemblance to handwork, and throughout the set the sprays are varied, thus adding interest to the whole. The colours are brush-worked with care and taste, and the two fine black lines on the shoulder of the plate are relied upon to give a simple, but quite sufficient, finish. Such a pattern is capable of accommodating itself either to modern or antique furniture; which was one of the points which the exhibition strove to emphasise.

The illustration at the head of this article is of the “Brownlow” pattern, designed by Mr. Thos. Hassall, and it combines beautiful soft colouring with a rich gold tracery. The background is of warm ivory, so adaptable to the surroundings of the modern home. The design is admittedly neat, and it is executed by craftsmen who have been specially trained at the Spode-Copeland works to deal with high-class decorations of this order.

To sum up, the recent Spode-Copeland exhibition at Harrods was instrumental in showing that whilst there is much of merit in the modern styles of pottery decoration, and although we are still capable of evolving, there is much amongst the older conceptions that is not outworn; and what applies to pottery applies equally to furniture; the main thing, therefore, is to aim for a synchronisation of the two.

Christmas Buying

It may seem strange to talk of Christmas just now, but pottery and glass manufacturers and dealers are preparing for that season of the year when presents are bought and sold in large numbers.

Last year we devoted a large part of our September issue to Gifts for the Christmas trade, and this year we shall repeat what was an undoubted success. Our issue of Sept. 1, 1935, will inform dealers of what is being produced to attract the buying public in the weeks which precede Christmas.

Trade Opening in Australia. — A Sydney agent desires to secure the representation of art pottery and glassware on a commission basis, although prepared to purchase on own account, for the whole of Australia. [D.O.T. Ref. No. 448.] Applications for name and address should be made to the Department of Overseas Trade, 35, Old Queen-st., S.W.I.

British Pottery and the I.F.S. — The Portlaoighise Mental Hospital Committee has received a letter from the Irish Free State Ministry of Industry and Commerce stating that the Minister could not recommend the issue of a licence for the free importation of pottery from Britain unless he was satisfied that the Arklow Pottery Company was unable to supply the goods.

The New “Pottery Queen”


Out of thirty candidates who competed for the honour, Miss Doris Moore, a seventeen-year-old paintress at the works of the Paragon China Co., Longton, has been elected “Pottery Queen” for the next twelve months, and thus succeeds Miss Annie Sheppard, who has completed her year of office.

Our photograph shows the new “Pottery Queen” with her six attendant Princesses. The retiring “Pottery Queen” is behind her successor.

The Princesses are: TUNSTALL: Miss Betty Hollinshead (Richards Tiles, Ltd.). BURSLEM: Miss Lucy Johnson (Burgess & Leigh, Ltd.). HANLEY: Miss Phyllis Williams (Taylor, Tunnicliff & Co.). STOKE: Miss Annie Carr (W. T. Copeland & Sons, Ltd.). FENTON: Miss Lily Hughes (Hewitt & Son, Ltd.). LONGTON: Miss Peggy Tarns (S. Bridgwood & Sons).

Photo by J. Templeman, Hanley.

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National Council of the Pottery Industry

The National Council of the Pottery Industry held its 77th meeting in the Trentham Gardens on July 1, the Chairman (Mr. T. Tyler) presiding.

Sympathetic reference was made to the death of Mr. Bernard Moore, who had been a Co-opted Member of the Research Committee since its inception in 1918. From his fund of knowledge and practical experience he had from time to time contributed very materially to the efforts of the Committee towards the solution of various problems in the industry. An expression of the sincere sympathy of the members of the Council had already been conveyed to the family, and as a tribute of respect the members stood in silence.

Health Matters.

A very interesting résumé of the efforts made by the National Council to improve general health conditions in the industry and to reduce the risks of operatives to the contraction of dermatitis, silicosis and other diseases was given by Mr. T. Simpson, Chairman of the Research Committee, in the course of which he detailed particulars obtained as a result of a preliminary questionnaire circulated to manufacturers on the subject of dermatitis. The object of the questionnaire was to obtain information as to the extent to which the disease is prevalent amongst pottery operatives and, if possible, the causes to which its contraction is due, in order that such preventive measures might be recommended to the industry as might tend to a reduction in, or the total elimination of, the disease.

With regard to silicosis, earnest attention is being devoted to the consideration of means for the prevention of dust with a view to the submission of a report for circulation to the industry, bearing on the incidence of the disease in earthenware clay shops and containing suggestions and recommendations as to various methods and expedients for the prevention of dust and the removal of dust which has been created. The major and fundamental problem of eliminating siliceous and other dusts contributory to the disease, will form the subject of a future and more intensive investigation.

From statistics now available, earthenware clay shops are found to be one of the principal sources of silicosis, it being estimated that 60 per cent. of the cases known to occur in the industry have their origin in them. In 1933, 53 per cent., and in 1934, 49 per cent. of the deaths from silicosis were from plastic clay shops, a term which includes all the unfired clay shops but excludes slip house and towers’ and placers’ work in which to some extent different conditions prevail from those it is proposed to consider at the moment.

To aid it in its investigations and deliberations the Committee will welcome and appreciate suggestions from employers, managers, works inspectors and operatives as to methods which might be adopted, or steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of dust breathed by workers in this class of shop. Such suggestions to be forwarded to the Secretary at 6, Glebe Street, Stoke-onTrent.

The fact that the average age at death from silicosis has increased from 54.5 in 1931 to 58.1 in 1934 indicates that the efforts of the National Council to reduce the risks to health in the industry, and the better observance of the Pottery Regulations, are producing beneficial results.

Preservation of Press Cloths.

Experiments are proceeding with an anti-mildew agent in the treatment of press cloths whilst actually in use, by which it is hoped to remedy the vexatious trouble of mildew, the cause of the rotting of cloths where iron presses are used. The manufacturers have also undertaken to find a maker and supplier of press cloths to make experiments with the incorporation of the product in the cloth during the course of its manufacture, after which tests will be made to ascertain to what extent and for what length of period the product can be retained after repeated washings, so that when the treated cloths are available arrangements can be made for practical tests in the industry.


Details of the imports into the United Kingdom of china, general earthenware and electrical ware from Japan during the years 1929 to 1935 have received consideration. The growth in the volume of certain of the imports, particularly tiles, sanitary ware and china and translucent pottery if continued at the May rates, will be a cause for great concern. For instance, notwithstanding the duties, the imports of china and translucent pottery in 1933 were 16,217 cwt., in 1934, 28,862 cwt., and for May, 1935, 5,918 cwt. Sanitary ware (all kinds) in 1933, 12,554 cwt., 1934, 42,231 cwt., and for May, 1935, 4,411 cwt. Tiles (excluding roofing tiles) in 1933, 244,770 cwt., 1934, 359,792 cwt., and for May, 1935, 41,027 cwt.

At the conclusion of the business the members present were entertained to tea and afterwards many spent a pleasant evening in the gardens and grounds.


Flower Making


Page 991 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

Exhibition of Bernard Moore Pottery

By A Member of Our Staff.


“The Passing of Venus.” A Bernard Moore production, painted by Mr. John Adams, A.R.C.A.
Photo by J. Templeman, Hanley.

There are probably few people who are connected with the sale of high-class pottery who are not familiar with the attainments of that great and talented potter, the late Mr. Bernard Moore, who passed away in April last, and who has been described by Prof. H. E. Armstrong as “an ardent and inspired seeker after ceramic truth, the first real experimentalist that the Potteries have known since Josiah Wedgwood — a rare genius — an artist craftsman who, with the subtle aid of fire, could conjure a soul of most glorious colour into dullest clay.”

From time to time, in the days before the Great War, opportunities were periodically provided of inspecting some of the accomplishments of Mr. Bernard Moore in his own particular favourite field of rare and subtle glazings, for he was a regular exhibitor at international exhibitions, at which he secured some notable successes. It was a fact, nevertheless, that there were many of his triumphs which Mr. Bernard Moore considered to be too choice, and for which he entertained too intimate a regard, to allow them to go out of his possession.

Bearing all this in mind, it must have been interesting news to many when they heard recently that, for the first time, a comprehensive exhibition of the works which Mr. Bernard Moore had left behind — over 400 notable examples of his art — was to be held at Stoke Town Hall. The exhibition in question was duly opened on July 9, and drew many admirers of Mr. Moore’s prowess as a potter and not a few collectors and connoisseurs.

It was a marvellous collection of pottery embodying the results of many of Mr. Bernard Moore’s explorations into such problems as decorations in high temperature rouge flambé, peach blow, gold flambé, crystalline jade, Persian blue and aventurine.

A number of distinguished artists were from time

to time associated with Mr. Moore in his efforts, amongst whom were Mr. B. Tomlinson, A.R.C.A. (now Chief Inspector of Art for the London County Council); Miss Dora Billington, A.R.C.A. (now Instructor of Pottery at the Central Schools of Arts and Crafts, London), and Mr. John Adams, A.R.C.A. (the present Art Director of the firm of Carter, Stabler & Adams, Ltd., Poole). The works of some of these artists in collaboration with Mr. Bernard Moore, were on view in the exhibition, and included amongst them was a fine painting by Mr. Tomlinson, executed on one of Mr. Moore’s vases-produced for the Brussels Exhibition of 1911, which portrays, on one side, Britannia’s farewell to the ship bearing the art treasures overseas, and on the reverse side, a symbolical figure of Belgium welcoming their arrival.

Amongst the works of Mr. John Adams was the “Passing of Venus,” a wonderfully virile conception painted in flambé upon a massive jardeniere. (See illustration.)

Notable amongst the pieces with which Miss Dora Billington was associated was a handsome jar, bearing a decoration of a swirling fish, in brilliant red toned off with grey.

We were informed at the close of the exhibition, that although a number of valued pieces had been disposed of, there are others still available, and particulars of these can be obtained from Major B. J. Moore, if application be made to him at the showrooms of the late Mr. Bernard Moore, which are still open in Wolfe-st., Stoke-on-Trent.


Page 992 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935
A General View of the Exhibition. Photo by J. Templeman, Hanley.


Pottery Manufacturers’ Cruise

It may be recalled that last year, at the invitation of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, a party of prominent Potteries industrialists was accorded a wonderful opportunity of viewing the facilities of the Port of Liverpool through the delightful experience of participating in a cruise down the Mersey in the steam launch “Galatea.” It was an experience that was so much enjoyed, and evoked so much enthusiasm on the part of those who took part in it, that quite a good deal of eager anticipation was aroused when it became known a few weeks ago that the favour was to be repeated.

It was a high-spirited party, therefore, which travelled on July 17, as the guests of the Mersey Board, from Stoke to Liverpool in a specially reserved first-class saloon coach, to be met at Lime-st. Station by a private motor coach, and conveyed to the Gladstone Dock, where they embarked upon the “Galatea” for a five hours’ sail up and down the river.

The hospitality aboard left little to be desired, for nothing had been overlooked that was calculated to add to the enjoyment of the guests. Mr. E. G. Brownbill (Chairman of the Traffic Committee of the Board), Mr. J. L. Ferguson (a member of the Board), and Col. T. H. Hawkins, C.M.G. (Assistant General Manager), proved themselves to be charming hosts, and it was equally a delight to renew the acquaintance of Capt. F. W. Mace, O.B.E., E.N.E., who, as Marine Surveyor and Water Bailiff of the Board, accompanied the party and shared his attentions between the bridge of the vessel and the social amenities that were connected with the cruise.

Following an excellent and beautifully served luncheon Mr. Brownbill proposed a toast to the visitors, remarking that his Board were delighted to renew the acquaintances which were formed a year ago in the course of a visit to them of which they had the pleasantest recollections. They were satisfied to know that such visits were appreciated, and he hoped they would pave the way for the good relationships which ought to exist between a commercial port of the character of Liverpool and Industrial England. He was glad to know from the trade returns that the export trade was improving and he saw no reason why the port should not see a recovery of its former prosperity.

Mr. Ernest Johnson responded and thanked their hosts for what they all considered to be “a real holiday.” He was glad to say that they all felt that the export trade of the country was showing an upward tendency and he trusted that Liverpool, as the only port which was of real service to Midland manufacturers, would share in that prosperity.

Mr. Johnson proceeded to propose the health of the Mersey Board and craved their acceptance of a coffee service in fine Minton china as a memento of the visit. This was accepted by Mr. Brownbill on behalf of the Mersey Board, who, he said, would greatly treasure it in the coffee room at the Board’s offices as a memento of the pleasant relationships which existed between them and the business men of North Staffordshire, which goodwill he hoped would be preserved for many years to come.

Tea was subsequently served on board and the return journey to Stoke made in the evening.

The thanks of all concerned were accorded en route to Mr. H. Davies, the Birmingham agent of the Board, for the assiduous attentions which he had devoted to the comfort of every member of the party.


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Interior Designs and Display

By A. Edward Hammond


Fig. 1. Rubber-edged circular shelf.

In my last article I discussed the value of an element of design in the window, and explained the difference between window dressing and window display. A similar alteration of standards is being brought about inside the shop. The (r)evolution in shop planning is now proceeding — the “r” I may say is optional, some prefer gradual, others sudden, changes. It is a question of policy; I have seen good results from both.

To-day, we don’t furnish shops, we design them. It used to be a question of plenty of shelves, a few cupboards or benches, a table or so, and a counter. Of course, there had to be a counter; a shop could not possibly be a shop without a counter. How could any retail business be carried on without a counter to separate customers from the trader and his staff? Such a barrier had always been considered essential. Then someone with more respect


Fig. 2. An example of modern interior design. New premises of W. H.Rhodes, Ltd. at Birmingham.
Page 994 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

for convenience than conventions discovered that counters took up a lot of valuable space that could be devoted to display, and that customers liked to have plenty of room to walk about and inspect things at leisure. Counters were all right for merchandise that had to be measured by the yard, but were an unnecessary encumbrance in selling china and glass.

So shops began to be planned with alcoves and compartments, and effective display became the first consideration in planning. Amongst those who have effectively carried this out are W. H. Rhodes, Ltd., and a view of one of their most recently completed interiors is shown in an accompanying illustration (Fig. 2). This delightful showroom has a design and colour scheme admirably suited to the effective display of china and glass.

The walls are finished in a neutral shade, and have applied plaques of black glass and mirrors each fitted with shelves. The mirrors, of course, can make good backgrounds for glassware, and the black circles make an excellent setting for coloured pottery. The other fixtures and fittings are built up in varying shapes in bent plywood. The fixture is carried round the lower part of the wall and has two interesting projections with recesses in two tiers providing facilities for combined storage and display. The top of this fixture is covered with black glass which is as effective in the form of a flat setting for cut glass as it is as a background for mural displays.


Fig. 3. — A new jug stand with a matt aluminium finish.


Fig. 4. — This alcove, equipped with the latest display fittings, is carried out in Veneer relieved by wood mouldings covered with metallic foil.
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This shop was equipped throughout by Craftinwood Ltd., Birmingham.

The best known man in pottery display is Mr. John Sayer, who, a number of years ago, completely revolutionised the methods of sales presentation for this class of merchandise. It was Mr. Sayer who first made retailers realise that display fittings should themselves be almost unseen. Indeed, he tells me that he still gets a certain amount of satisfaction when people, who call at his showrooms to purchase his fittings, look round and, seeing nothing but the china displayed, ask if they may be shown some of the display equipment. Of course, all the while it is in front of them, efficiently and unobtrusively performing its function of displaying china.

Most people in the trade are familiar with the Sayer equipment to-day, but the fascinating part about it is that it seems capable of infinite variation and improvement. The “Jayesse” system, for example, consisting of an “H” section steel tube with holes spaced at intervals for the insertion of prongs supporting adjustable brackets, has now had its versatility enormously increased by the introduction of a bracket with three arms fitted with rubber washers to support a circular shelf. This shelf has a rubber frame to prevent china or glass articles from slipping over the edge through vibration.

A close-up of this fitting is shown in Fig. 1, and the circular shelf is also seen in use on the pedestal on the left-hand side of the alcove shown in Fig. 4 which shows three of the latest variations of the “Jayesse” system. The half-moon shaped arms equipped with rings for the support of cups and saucers and a rimmed disc for the coffee pot, tea pot, jug and sugar basin, are supported on a pronged bracket inserted at suitable height in the perforated metal upright. The same applies to the oblique arms equipped with rings and clips to take complete tea sets.

Incidentally, this illustration is a good example of the effective use of the display alcove. This is carried out in veneer relieved by three bands of metal mouldings. These mouldings provide a pleasant relief without undue ornamentation, and might be applied with advantage in many pottery showrooms carried out on modern lines with large expanses of plain wall surface. One firm supplies them in gold, chromium silver, satin silver, copper, green, blue, red, and purple.

In all showrooms, whether designed on the lines of Messrs. Rhodes or equipped on the Sayer principle, needs always arise for independent small accessories for individual displays of specialised articles. These make valuable auxiliaries to the permanent equipment, and are useful for day-to-day displays on occasional-tables or small island units.

One of the latest additions to portable equipment of this type is shown in Fig 3, also by courtesy of Mr. John Sayer. This tier stand for jugs is of metal finished in aluminium paint, which gives a dull matt surface infinitely preferable (at least, for this class of merchandise) to the vividity of chromium plating or stainless steel, for it does not detract from the beauty of the pottery.

Retailers to-day are abundantly blessed with inexpensive materials for the construction of alcoves, and other attractive settings for the display of pottery and glass. Fibre wall boards sold under various brand names are available in many different textures and finishes. One variety is known as “Masonite.”

Another fibre board, known as “Essex Board,” which is equally suitable for ceiling use, has been employed for this purpose in the china and glass department of the John Bodger store at Ilford, Essex, for over ten years, and is still in excellent condition. A view is shown in Fig. 5 by courtesy of the Thames Board Mills. Ltd.


Fig. 5. — An inexpensive wallboard is used for the ceiling and upper wall surfaces in this department.
Page 996 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

Window Displays

Some Essential Points

By J, Hewland
(In an Interview) Display Manager, Cole Brothers, Ltd., Sheffield

Glass and china ware, etc., by their very nature, are ideally suited for the building up of striking window displays. However, apart from the windows of some of the more progressive establishments, how often do we encounter a window scheme for these articles which has been thoughtfully planned, and intelligently executed?

A Rhapsody of Confusion.

It is unfortunately true that many displays are, in the words of a critical layman friend, “a rhapsody in confusion.” Items are crowded in democratically — the patrician-priced ones jostling with the more plebeian variety. Nothing is distinctive, and the beauty of the articles is lost in the staid commonplace of the display.

Strangely enough, the smaller dealers in glass and china are the biggest culprits in this respect. I say “strangely,” because it is the small dealer to whom attractive display is of the greatest importance. His space for window-planning is very limited, and, because of this, he should strive to gain an atmosphere of concentrated attention. His window should compel the attention of the passerby, or else it fails in its purpose of visible salesmanship.

Plan First.

It is of great help to display men to sketch upon a piece of paper a proportionately reduced plan of the window space at their disposal, and utilise this to draft out a few suggested schemes. In this way, by predetermining the appearance of the window, they will escape many of the pitfalls that attend the too common practice of “building in the window.”

Simplicity and Balance.

Two of the basic principles of display are simplicity and balance. By simplicity I do not suggest the poverty, or bareness, which makes many windows look as though half the merchandise had been made off with, but rather the beautiful simplicity, for analogy, of modern furniture. The extravagant decoration beloved by our forbears has been ruthlessly suppressed, and only the essentials remain, which, however, reveal a new beauty and simplicity hitherto unsuspected. The same thing applies to window display. Decoration for decoration’s sake should be eliminated. It detracts by unnecessarily “frilling” the display, and makes no useful contribution to the general effect.

Backgrounds, too, should be kept as simple as possible. As a matter of fact, black draping is often unexcelled for giving glassware that brilliance of lustre which is associated with the finest hand-cut crystal.

The Key.

Having decided upon a simple, unobtrusive background, choose from your stocks one of your best lines. This is the “key” to the scheme, and, as such, should be given the greater prominence. Next choose its satellites — articles of similar character, but of lower quality and of cheaper prices. Resist strongly the temptation to include every article of the same family. Remember that your window is designed to attract the customers inside, to hint of the range set out in your interior, but it is not meant to include your whole stocks.

In the arrangement of these articles balance is important.

Without a thorough comprehension of the nature of “balance” a simple display is likely to have that poverty of appearance I mentioned earlier. Balance means the placing of components equal in proportion, and gives an atmosphere of unity, or cohesion. Balance also prevents the eye becoming outraged by ragged instability.

The best method of achieving correct balance is, as I stated previously, to delineate the proposed scheme on paper. This will immediately reveal the defects of any inharmonious arrangement.


Colour plays an invaluable part in a display-scheme, and considerable attention should be paid to the suitability of the colours of the display fittings blending with those of the articles. Often an otherwise good window is ruined by a wrong colour association. For guidance here are a few colours and their harmonious combinations:—

  • Red — with blue, black, grey.
    Orange — with blue, black, grey.
    Yellow — with blue, black, green.
    Green — with black, rose, violet.
    Blue — with orange, yellow, green.
    Violet — with green or olive.
    Grey — with black, red, or green.
    Olive — with blue, green, or brown.

The Purpose.

Also, remember the true purpose of your window-scheme. It is to attract attention, to interest, and primarily to sell. Before it can achieve the last-mentioned it must fulfil the other two. Above all, make your windows interesting to women, for it is safe to say that 80 per cent. of your customers are women, and they, consciously or instinctively, will be attracted chiefly by windows which please their inherent sense of orderliness and harmony.

“Stunts” may receive a passing interest, but not of the type that is likely to prove valuable to you. A wise maxim is to avoid freakish arrangements, just as you yourself would not wear freakish clothes.

Never attempt to do more than you are at present capable of carrying out successfully. If inexperienced, be content with extremely simple and even unconventional schemes.


Page 997 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

Sir Arthur W. Lambert

Relinquishing Control of China Shop


Sir Arthur W. Lambert. Photo by “Newcastle Chronicle.”

A portrait painted on pottery by Lucien Boullemier, and presented to Lady Lambert, when, as Mrs. Lambert, she visited the Ford Potteries of C. T. Maling & Sons, with her husband in 1927. He was then Councillor Lambert and Lord Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was visiting the potteries in that capacity. He was knighted by the King in 1930.

As briefly indicated in last month’s Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, the century-old business of Townsend & Co., china and glass merchants, Etruscan Rooms, Northumberland Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne, is to be taken over by Fenwick’s, who propose to open a new department in their vast store in Newcastle, and Townsend’s stock will be transferred there in the course of a few days.

The firm of Townsend, the head of which is Sir Arthur W. Lambert, was established by Sir Arthur’s grandmother, Mary Townsend, in 1832. The original premises were in Pilgrim Street. In 1886 accommodation was found in Northumberland Street at Saville Row Corner, then in Dial House, whilst ten years ago the present extensive premises were purchased and occupied.

Sir Arthur Lambert has decided to relinquish his control in the firm owing to pressure of public work, and in order to devote himself to the growing number of his other business interests. He has been particularly anxious to safeguard the interests of the thousands of friendly customers who had given loyal support to his old firm during three generations and also to find positions for his skilled and efficient staff.

“I am glad to announce,” he said, “that a most satisfactory arrangement has been come to with my old friends, Messrs. Fenwick, who propose to open a new department with members of my present staff in which the chief aim will be to maintain the highest pinnacle of the Townsend traditions.”

Messrs. Fenwick are to open a Townsend salon. They are buying the whole of the Townsend stock and will transport it to their premises during the first week in August.

Sir Arthur, who desires through The Pottery Gazette to acknowledge the many messages of goodwill he has received during the past few weeks, concludes: “I should also like to thank The Pottery Gazette for its valuable services to the trade during the forty years of my connection.”

Meeting of French Pottery and Glass Merchants.

— The French syndicate of porcelain and crystal merchants has held its general meeting and annual congress at Bourges. The proceedings, says Reuters Trade Service, opened under the chairmanship of M. Henri Magdelenat, president of the Cher Chamber of Commerce, who spoke of the importance of producers and distributors uniting their efforts for the restoration of economic prosperity in France. After adoption of the reports on the past activities of the syndicate the committee for 1935-36 was elected as follows:— Chairman, M. J. Wacrenier Menu, of Lille; Vice-chairmen, MM. A. Godin, of Paris, C. Legay, of Paris, E. Mansuy, of Lyon, and M. Pesnel, of Epernay; General Secretary, M. A. Lecouey, of Paris; Deputy Secretary, M. P. Klotz, of Paris; Treasurer, M. C. Greffier, of Paris; and Deputy Treasurer, M. H. Maire, of Marseilles. When the committee had been appointed an interesting meeting brought together the various porcelain, pottery and glass manufacturers of the province of Berry and the members of the French syndicate of porcelain and crystal merchants. Members of the congress spent three days visiting factories in Berry, and were able to study the efforts being made to improve the quality of the products.


Page 998 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

Pottery Saggars: How to Improve Them

At most potteries heavy expenditure is involved in the provision and upkeep of the fireclay saggars in which the wares are fired in the ovens. Various points to be watched in this regard were outlined in a recent lecture before the Ceramic Society
This report is published by permission of the Ceramic Society.

From Our Own Reporter

At a meeting of the Ceramic Society held recently at the North Staffordshire Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent, Mr. A. E. Hewitt (President) in the chair, an address was given by Mr. N. P. Holcroft on the subject of “Pottery Saggars.”

Approaching the subject from a saggar clay-producer’s point of view, the lecturer said that much work had been done both in Britain and other countries in connection with, and relative to, the improvement of saggar mixtures, with a view to securing a longer saggar life. Large- and small-scale trials had been carried out, using sillimanite, calcined bauxite, fused quartz, carborundum and other minerals as non-plastics to be combined with the base material, fireclay, wholly or partially to the displacement of fireclay grog. In general, however, the results obtained did not appear to have been sufficiently convincing to justify the extended use of such materials.

In a few instances, however, where very satisfactory results had been reported, other factors had presented themselves which prohibited a continuance of the use of these special and expensive materials. The average manufacturing potter, therefore, was thrown back, in connection with his saggar production, upon mixtures of fireclay and fireclay grog. At the same time, vast improvements had been effected of recent years as the result of scientific investigations, and the old-fashioned view no longer held good that any clay which was grey in colour and burned buff was good enough for the production of pottery saggars.

Selection of Marls.

Dealing with the selection of marls for employment in saggar-making, the lecturer said that it was not surprising that saggar clays which were produced in the Potteries in the not-far-distant past were the subject of much adverse criticism. The rule-of-thumb methods of the producers of days gone by were no longer good enough, and nowadays, so much having been achieved by chemical analysis to dispel old-fashioned notions, care was taken to obtain, from mine or quarry, properly selected materials to give the best results.

It had far too often been a practice, however, in the past, to grind the marl and non-plastic material at one operation in the same pan, proportioning the two constituents on the basis of so many shovels of marl to so many shovels of broken saggars. There was a grave danger in this dependence upon the human element for the consistency of ratio between clay and grog. But this was not the worst feature; a greater danger still lay in the failure to regulate the grain size of the two materials. To mix a comparatively coarse clay along with an appreciable amount of grog in too fine a state resulted in the saggar mixture, after pugging, being poor in plasticity and working properties.

Another of the troubles which were liable to be encountered under such conditions was “spit out,” due to the iron content being in nodular form. Finer grinding of the marl would reduce, even if it did not entirely eliminate, troubles from this source.

A Suggested Saggar Plant.

The lecturer proceeded to describe a method which was adopted some years ago at the works with which he was connected in the endeavour to provide a saggar mixture which, as a result of the precautions taken, would steer clear of some of the more common dangers.

The clay, he said, as it came from the quarry, was ground in a perforated-bottom pan and elevated on to a 3/16in. screen, set at an angle of 45 degs., the clay passing through such a screen having a grading test of: Over 1/16in. mesh, 9.7 per cent.; through 1/16in. mesh, 90.3 per cent. The resulting material then passed into an underground hopper.

The grog was also ground in a perforated-bottom pan and elevated on to a revolving screen, which was kept clean by mechanically revolving brushes. This screen, which was of 14-mesh, took out, as far as was practicable, all material the bulk of which would normally pass a 16-mesh. From the revolving screen the grog passed over a piano-wire screen of four wires to the inch and then to a separate underground hopper.

Proportioning of Materials.

The method of proportioning the clay and grog was by means of chain-bucket elevators, the ratio required being secured by using buckets of pre-determined capacity. This involved three sets of elevators: one for clay, one for grog for saggar bottoms, and one for grog for saggar sides. The clay and grog were delivered simultaneously into an overhead hopper, and from this, where they got an initial mixing, they were passed by a controlled outlet into the open trough mixer and pug, which had an over-all length of 12 ft. 6 in.

Wet Grog and Souring.

The use of wet grog to secure greater adhesion between clay and grog was attempted, but the idea had to be abandoned on account of the grog adhering to the elevator buckets; in consequence of which the desired proportion of grog was not delivered into the hopper.

Wet shords, similarly, presented difficulties, seeing that they yielded a totally different grain size of grog, with a decided increase in that size which was extracted by the revolving screen, which, in turn, did not work so efficiently as when dealing with dry material. The advantage to be gained by the use of wet grog was, however, secured by “souring,” and from


Page 999 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

the pug the saggar clay was stacked and covered with sheeting.

It was worth mentioning, said the lecturer, that the difference between the workability of saggar clay after only four or five days of souring, as compared with clay that was used straight from the pug, was very pronounced, there being a decidedly greater intimacy between clay and grog, the effect of which was to yield increased mechanical strength, both in the “green” and fired states.

Good Material Spoiled.

Notwithstanding the care with which a saggar clay might be prepared, however, good work could frequently be undone by the users, said the lecturer. The contamination of a carefully prepared saggar mixture by other materials in loading or stacking should be carefully obviated. Similarly, the free use of fine sand to prevent sticking, either in the transport vehicles or on the frame in the saggar house itself, should be scrupulously avoided. An appreciable saggar loss due to “dunting” might arise from such a cause.

Individual requests of saggar-makers in regard to the stiffness and grog content were fairly frequently experienced. Requests for a softer bottom-marl, or for finer grog, or a smaller amount of grog, were not uncommon; but to accede to these without consideration being given to a corresponding adjustment of the side marl would be to court trouble.


As to whether pottery manufacturing conditions would ever be so reasonably standardised as to permit of a uniform saggar mixture being supplied which would give satisfactory results all round, the lecturer said he had his doubts. Certainly, it would be hopeless to expect, as matters stood to-day, to attempt to supply one standard mixture to meet the needs of every individual factory. The differences between individual sets of conditions which prevailed meant that in many potteries to-day a normally good saggar mixture could be literally ruined during the processes of saggar-making, drying and initial firing. These conditions would have to be almost revolutionised on many works before a satisfactory standard saggar mixture could be evolved.

Ample evidence was available that individual conditions of saggar-making and firing had a marked influence on saggar life, regardless of the quality of the material used. At some potteries, which were well equipped and controlled as regards the making and drying of the saggars, there was a gross indifference to the initial firing; at other factories losses occurred in the hot-house; and at other works much criticism could be levelled at the saggar-maker’s department. In connection with the last-mentioned there were failures of saggars occurring in early infancy which could be shown, on examination, to have occurred through definite lamination between clay and grog, particularly in the bottoms, where more grog was used.

Better Results Possible.

In conclusion, the lecturer said he could cite innumerable cases where, if greater interest in the saggar problem were shown, and with the application of only elementary principles of clay-working to the saggar-making department, much better results might be attained. Unfortunately, however, in a good many cases the only interest that was shown by those in charge was in the price of the saggar clay itself, and

many were the occasions when an order had changed hands on the mere score of a few pence per ton, no other factor being considered.

Was it beyond hope, he wondered, that in the not-far-distant future a saggar clay mixture would be found which would suit all pockets and conditions of service. But until that happy time arrived he would counsel pottery manufacturers to treat such material as they were now using with as much care and attention as they bestowed upon the production of their pottery itself, for by so doing they would establish a method of production which would be a credit to themselves, whilst benefiting any materials which might ultimately be placed at their disposal.

The Discussion

The Chairman, in throwing the meeting open to discussion, said he agreed with the lecturer that the conditions on the majority of potteries were such that it was impossible to carry out satisfactorily such ideas as had been presented to them, and he felt sure that it ought not to be beyond the powers of the local marl producers to devise a scheme under which central organisations could be provided at each end of the Potteries for the production of really proper saggars capable of serving the requirements of the industry generally. Such a position, if it could be realised, would be ideal. He knew, of course, that the majority of the larger manufacturers had their own saggar-making plants, and probably they would hesitate a good deal before scrapping them unless they could be definitely assured of something better than they could themselves produce. He did not think, however, that it would be impossible to produce, under some co-ordinated scheme, saggars which would withstand a much longer life than was the experience at present, besides being cleaner and better than the majority of manufacturers could produce on their factories. He would like to ask the lecturer whether he understood him correctly that it would be better to use a blending of saggar marls from different parts of the country than any one particular marl by itself?

Mr. Holcroft, in reply, said that he hoped he had not created the impression that it was necessary to im--port saggar marls. They had in the Potteries quite a number of marls with decidedly different properties, and if any one of these would not answer the requirements, a mixture of two or three of them would do. There were marl pits in the Potteries which contained quite a number of seams of different marls, and by the blending of these in properly ascertained proportions, plus suitable methods of saggar-making, it ought not to be impossible to obtain ideal results.

Mr. F. S. Worthington raised a question with regard to a point which had been stressed in the lecture that bad results were sometimes obtained owing to the sides of the saggars being knocked out in fine sand, and that the troubles might be obviated by using sawdust in place of sand. Mr. Worthington said that he had seen disastrous results through the using of biscuit saggars produced from marl which had contained saw-dust. The sawdust burned and fell into the placing sand, and if the same sand were afterwards used for bedding dishes, specked ware would inevitably ensue. He thought it would be better to use sawdust for the glost saggars and sand for the biscuit ones.

Mr. Holcroft replied that the trouble probably arose not so much through the use of sawdust as of too coarse a sawdust.


Page 1000 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

Page 1001: T. G. Green & Co. Ltd. Cornish Kitchen Ware
Page 1002: Blank

Sculpture in Pottery

Many useful pointers to would-be sculptors in pottery were given in a recent lecture at Stoke-on-Trent by a modern practitioner from without

From Our Own Reporter

THE potter’s art is closely related to that of the sculptor, or at least to one branch of it, that of modelling, of building up out of a soft material, said Mrs. Marie Petrie (a lady who has had some experience in the modern field of sculpture) when addressing recently the North Staffordshire Branch of the Society of Industrial Artists. That other branch of sculpture which is concerned with the carving out of a hard material is further removed from the art of the potter and stands nearer to architecture.

All the plastic arts, said Mrs. Petrie in the course of exhibiting quite a number of instructive slides of old and modern work, have some very important points in common, and seeing that some of these points may be more clearly demonstrated in one branch of the art than in another, profit may well result from a study of one another’s work.

The Plastic Arts.

The chief point which the plastic arts have in common, and which distinguish them from the other visual arts, drawing and painting, is the third dimension — depth. Drawing is indulged in primarily to satisfy our need of line or rhythm; painting answers to our need of colour; the plastic arts have to satisfy the sense of touch.

A piece of sculpture or of pottery is an object which can be touched by the hand, that sensitive instrument which can feel and enjoy surface and which can measure distances more accurately than the eye. Three-dimensional objects can, however, at the same time be enjoyed by the eye, for the sense of touch does not lie in the hand alone but is embedded within us; we feel the three dimensions — the solidity of an object: its substance: its weight. It exists in space in the same way as we ourselves do. It reflects light and shade, and the shapes which light and shade make upon it, depend upon its form.


Painting — a two-dimensional art — has to do with the appearance of things; the three-dimensional plastic arts deal with the reality; they create real objects which exist in space, reflecting light and having weight.

Space, light, gravity — elemental things; indeed they are; they are the very elements of our existence. The plastic arts exist because the laws of these elements are demonstrated more clearly in them than they can possibly be in painting, which is more concerned with colour. Our life and growth depend upon the cosmic laws of light, gravity and space, and consciously or unconsciously we like to have them set out as models in front of us in a more isolated form than in the confusion of nature. The three-dimensionality, then, is the chief difference between the plastic arts and painting.

People somehow or other seem to have more difficulty in understanding or liking sculpture than painting.

This may be because we can take in the two-dimensional picture all at once from one viewpoint, whereas we have to look at a piece of sculpture from different sides and piece these views together in our mind before we can arrive at a complete realisation of the qualities of the work. This process represents a greater mental effort. Besides which, sculpture usually lacks colour, which is a more primitive and easy thing to appreciate than form.

Sculpture in the round can very rarely be equally interesting from all sides. Many works, especially those of a more formal and decorative nature, have only a frontal aspect, and are to all intents and purposes high reliefs, standing away from an imaginary plane. Nearly all applied architectural sculpture is of this nature, and here is the point where the arts of sculpture and architecture most closely touch.

Subjects Limited.

It is obvious that the subjects suitable for sculpture are far more limited than for painting and drawing, for the materials — clay, metal, or stone — impose severer limits as regards practicability; such things as landscapes, for example, are out of the question.

There is a parting of the ways within the plastic arts themselves, between pottery and sculpture, quite apart from the fact that pottery is essentially concerned with objects of usefulness, whereas sculpture is not. Pottery and modelling are synthetic arts, consisting of the building up, bit by bit, in soft material, such as clay, or wax, or plasticine. Sculpture-proper, on the other hand, is analytical, and consists of the cutting or chiselling away from a block of material, arriving at the final form by a partitioning of the whole rather than by the adding of parts.

These two entirely different attitudes, often adopted by the same person — the sculptor — are caused by the different materials used, and they result in quite different kinds of work.

Ceramic statuary is a mixed art, and, as such, certain dangers beset it. It stands in much the same relationship to sculpture as does relief modelling. It may also be called an applied art, for although ceramic figures are not made directly for use, as are such articles as jugs, plates and cups, they have their origin in the practical art of the potter and their function is, on the whole, a purely decorative one; that of completing the furnishing of a room or the setting of a formal dining table. Although they are objects which are really separate from furniture they form, as it were, a finishing touch to it.

Pottery Figures.

Usually, pottery figures are of small size, which makes them unsuited to carry big ideas. Their materials — fragile porcelains, bearing liquid, grey-coloured glazes — demand light, happy, playful subjects, and a treatment in harmony with them.


Page 1003 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

A danger of this kind of sculpture, which is usually described as an ornament, is that it may become just a trifle too ornate, or too pretty and insipid. The artist, who may be a very skilful modeller, is often much more concerned with the actual modelling of the outer adornment than the big form that is underneath — for even a small object can have big form. After all, however, a pottery figure must remain an ornament, a decoration, an enrichment of the architectural scheme of the modern room; it cannot lay claim to being more than that.

A pottery figure will probably have to live on neighbourly terms with modern furniture and textiles and their simple, almost geometrical design. That being the case, neither their design nor the design of the pottery figure will gain if there is too great a discrepancy of style between the two.


The tendency in architecture is towards greater simplicity. Architecture is the master art, and sculpture, whose background architecture provides, must follow suit if it does not want to be left completely behind and look ridiculous. We want to get away from the Classical, or Georgian, or Neolithic ornament, which has nothing whatever to do with modern life and has become obsolete. We want to make a new start, relying chiefly upon good proportions, suited to their function and capable of bringing out the character and beauty of the different materials employed.

You may think the new style of architecture and design bare and ugly, but remember that it has not yet had time to develop fully, and is as yet not much more than a break with outworn tradition, a break which had to come; and the same simplicity of design and regard for material which we demand of architecture we must now also look for in the smallest piece of applied sculpture. If a piece is over-ornate it will not show a beautiful glaze to advantage; neither will it fit in with present-day surroundings.

It is not necessary that a pottery figure should be entirely flat and smooth; you can have smooth planes set off by the contrast of crisp modelling of detail, such as hair and drapery; but underneath you must continue to provide simple, big form.

Static, Balanced Feeling.

The underlying construction and disposition of mass must be firmly established, must be interesting in itself, and must give a static, balanced feeling. To be thoroughly satisfactory the modern pottery figure must be a small piece of architecture. Your small form can then play about on its big base, supplying the variation, the punctuation, the repetition and the colour needed to make the work attractive to the eye as well as to the mind.

Porcelain, stoneware or terra-cotta figures, which are built up out of soft clay, must, of course, by their very nature, be richer and more varied in form than carved sculpture. They must preserve something of their own character, and not ape the severity of stone or cement, in which event they would miss their function of enriching and enlivening the severer architectural scheme that lies behind.

I want to warn you, said Mrs. Petrie in conclusion, that a curious balance has to be kept, so that excrescences and exuberance of fantasy shall not smother your work and leave nothing but an untidy mass. The very readiness of soft clay to serve us is a danger. Avoid that danger, then, or you will become the servant of the material. Use that which is to your hands with economy and restraint.

The Discussion

The Chairman (Major Wade) said he would like to inquire of the lecturer whether, in her view, the best creations in pottery figures were purely the result of intuition and an innate spark of genius?; and whether she considered that the introduction of a certain amount of theoretical knowledge was likely to be helpful or harmful?; did she consider that it was possible by theoretical training to extinguish the spark of genius if a child possessed it? He raised these questions because it had sometimes been said that the tendency of an art school training was to create a sameness of outlook on the part of the students.

Mrs. Petrie replied that she could not see how a little technical knowledge could do a real artist any-possible harm. Brains were wanted in art as much as in anything else. Of this she felt quite sure.

Mr. Gordon Forsyth said he thought this question of sculpture in pottery was one to which they ought to give a good deal more attention.

He was firmly of the opinion that pottery sculpture could be characteristically monumental. In this connection he remembered one particular figure, which belonged to Mr. Eumorfopoulos and which was exhibited in Manchester some time ago, a figure of a Chinese war god. It was quite a small figure, only about 14 in. high, so far as he could remember; yet it was the most monumental piece of pottery figure-work that he had ever seen. That production, at all events, realised the monumental quality that was possible in pottery.

Room for Good Work.

In the Staffordshire Potteries many years ago they had a first-class school of pottery figure makers, and he believed that to-day there was tremendous room for good figure work in pottery. It was a type of work, however, which came into a very special class of its own, inasmuch as, unlike a piece of electrical porcelain, which was purely functional, something which was designed by the engineer rather than by the artist, figure work in pottery fulfilled no utilitarian purpose; its only function, its only excuse and reason for existence, was to create a mental stimulus on the part of the beholder.

Mr. Forsyth continued: “I do think there is a good deal of room for deeper thought in connection with the designing of pottery figures. Those attenuated females we see up and down the country do not excite me at all; I regard them as a bit of an insult to one’s mentality. There is a lot of room for improvement here, but it can only come about by artists mentally equipping themselves. Neither I, nor anyone else, can stop an artist from being an artist, even though he does happen to attend the Burslem School of Art. Some will always be better than others, whatever training they receive. After all, it is the ones who think deeply who will produce good work.”

Concluding, Mr. Forsyth said that he would like to thank Mrs. Petrie very much indeed for having brought such a very important subject before them, because it was calculated to do quite a lot of good in the direction of kindling a real artistic effort in connection with pottery figure modelling. There was room for it, and he felt quite sure that there was a ready market for stuff that was good.


Page 1004 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935

The Ideal Medium.

Major Wade said he was certain that Mrs. Petrie would like to see some of the things which Mr. Forsyth’s students were producing at Burslem — little things which were absolutely full of vitality and wonderfully expressive of whimsicality and life.

He had been particularly struck by the lecturer’s reminder that the harder the material the higher should be the degree of finish. There were times when they had people coming into the Potteries and telling them that a very high glaze on a piece of china was not as artistically sound as a dull glaze, and one which was suggestive of little artistic blemishes. Following the lecturer’s reasoning, if they had a very hard material, such as china, this should prove the ideal medium for the ideal finish.

Mrs. Petrie, in reply to Major Wade, said that when she offered the observation that the harder the material the higher should be the degree of finish, she was thinking particularly of stone rather than of pottery; she supposed, however, that the same reasoning would apply to pottery; to which The Chairman replied: “We, in the Potteries, naturally think in terms of pottery.”

On the proposition of Mr. William Smedley, a hearty vote of thanks to the lecturer was recorded.

Marking Regulations in United States

Referring to circulars already issued in which it was stated that, in connection with the indication of the country of origin required on goods imported into the United States of America, the adjectival form of indication, e.g., “English origin,” is not acceptable to the United States authorities, the Department of Overseas Trade says. The Commercial Counsellor to the British Embassy at Washington reports that a United States Treasury Decision (No. 47687) of 14 May makes the following amendment to the regulations in question:—

“The adjectival form of the name of a country is acceptable as a proper indication of the origin of imported merchandise, provided the word does not appear with other words so as to refer to a kind or species of product, such terms as “English walnuts,” “Brazil nuts,” etc., being unacceptable, and provided also that the marking at the time of importation meets the requirements of legibility, conspicuousness and permanency.”

Although the effect of this decision is henceforth to permit in certain cases the adjectival form of indication it should be noted that only the adjectival equivalents of the acceptable names for countries (e.g., England, Scotland, Ireland, United Kingdom) may be used. Inasmuch as the words “British origin” would not indicate any particular country, this marking is not acceptable to the United States Authorities.

British Pottery and Glassware in New Zealand


This photograph shows a display of British glassware and pottery by the Farmers’ Trading Co., Hobson St., Auckland, New Zealand.
The latest products of British pottery and glass manufacturers are regular features of the displays at Farmers’, who are said to be the largest departmental Store in the Dominions.


Page 1005 Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, August 1935