A Family of Potteries

By Irene Whitfield

Shrouded in ceramic history, most people have heard the names of Wade, Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, Spode and many others, all names that have made the city famous. A family of potteries in the heart of the county of Staffordshire, producing some of the finest ceramics in the world for nearly three hundred years.

Many collectors know the history of their passion whether it be Wade, Royal Doulton, Coalport or any other of the other highly sought after names.

For decades collectors have been acquiring pieces of Wade produced in Burslem, one of the five towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent.  Each piece produced is a little work of art incorporating the skills of the artist, sculpture, fettler, decorator and many others each sharing their talent around the potteries of Stoke.  Many worked at a number of different factories each applying their own personal style to each piece produced.

Artists would share their talent with new apprentices, many, next generation family members, each learning the skills of a long line of potters.

Factories also shared workloads when busy, Wade casting for Royal Doulton and then painters hand decorating the pieces at the Royal Doulton pottery in Nile Street.  There were also a whole host of outworkers painting clay fired models by Wade and Royal Doulton at home and then returning them to the factory for finishing.  Each factory around the potteries helping to keep the workers busy.

Factories shared sculptors, painters, casters and fettlers to keep the chimneys of the kilns burning. The famous sculptor Jessie van Hallen herself worked at different times in her long career for Moorcroft, Coalport, Crown Staffordshire and Kent’s as well as Wade.

Figurines, tableware, industrial ceramics have all been pouring out of the heart of England’s potteries for over two hundred years.

Stoke remains a thriving industrial part of the nation to this day although many of the big names have gone, there are still dozens of smaller potteries around the area producing highly sort after ranges and still sharing workloads with each other.

Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire is still a true FAMILY OF POTTERIES.

Fireside Friend by Wade. One of many pieces that Wade and Doulton collaborated.  Wade modelled and cast the piece and then the painters at Royal Doulton applied their skills with the hand painting


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