In this world there are collectors of just about everything you can possibly imagine. Many of them come to Hungerford Arcade in search of that elusive piece for their collection or, they may have just started their collection.
Some of the Collectors have been coming to the Arcade for many years. We have actually been told by a few of them that their collection started with an item they purchased here! Well, that came as no surprise to us as you can buy virtually anything you can think of in the collectables field!
Poole Pottery is one of those collectables that are highly sought after and as we like to keep our customers informed of interesting articles relating to their treasured collections, Sue Smith and Roger Hartley of the Poole Pottery Collectors Club have kindly written the following article which will also appear in one of our Newsletters. You can find lots of other information on their website. There is a link at the foot of the article.
Identifying your Traditional Poole Pottery
When Carter and Co. first started to develop their range of decorative wares they used a grey clay body and any identification marks were scratched into the base. These usually consisted of the Carter trade name and the date, with very little other information added. If the collector is lucky other marks in pencil can also be found – for example, I have several pieces with the price pencilled on by the retailer. Although there was one impressed mark in use from 1900 on some of the lustre wares, and another elaborate impressed mark for teapot stands, they were not universally used. By 1908 impressed marks started to be used on the tin glazed and unglazed items. If a piece was commissioned for Liberty’s London store or another retailer no Poole mark was used.
Once the company became Carter Stabler and Adams the impressed stamp became the norm although there are many variations as shown on the Club Website. It can be confusing for the collector as many marks were used after this period including the use of both the CSA and Poole names in the same years. I have been unable to ascertain why this was done and would welcome any theories anyone has on this. From this point on it is often necessary to use other indicators to establish the age of any given piece.
The grey clay changed to red (terracotta) clay body in 1922 and continued until 1934 when a white body replaced it. Between 1934 and 1937 a pink slip was added as a covering to both the base and insides of the pots to emulate the previous red clay and perhaps disguise the change, but the white clay base can still be seen where the 3 digit shape number has been etched through the pink slip. From 1937 the base was left white but the pink slip inside the pot continued for sometime and can be found in some pots up until the 1950s when it was dropped altogether.
Other indicators of age are the decorators’ monograms. Care must be taken with this method due to the practice of reassigning marks to new decorators when former ones left the factory. These marks were for quality control and piece work for the company’s benefit and, although of great interest to the collector, this was not the original purpose of the monograms.
So it is a combination of these marks that allow the collector to pinpoint within a few years the age of any piece. To do this it is important to have good reference data and the most extensive range of marks can be found in the Poole Pottery book by Leslie Hayward and Paul Atterbury, or alternatively on the Club’s website – http://www.poolepotterycollectorsclub.net/mem.php.
Other marks on the base of pieces include the design code which is normally 2 letters, although a single letter was originally used, presumably until all 26 letters had been used up, and the letter G was also used as a prefix to reflect the colourway – for example, GUY stands for the green colourway of design UY. Examples have been found of the wrong code being placed on a pot in error and it may be that some of the earlier pattern codes were reused. A very good reference for these codes can be found on the Club’s website. If you have a pattern that is missing please let the club have a picture of the piece and its base. From 1951 to 1966 the pattern code was prefixed by S, M or E to indicate whether it was a simple, medium or elaborate version of the pattern in question.
There is also a shape number consisting of 3 numbers scratched onto the base of the piece before it was fired. This was changed in 1947 to impressed numbers that were used until the 1960’s when printed numbers were introduced. The first shape numbers were used between 1921 and 1928 when a second series was started using some of the previously allocated ones. It was Margaret Holder who initially allocated the numbers to each shape, and later it was Pat Summers who maintained the pattern books and the paintress’ monograms record.
From the 1950’s you will sometimes find a potter’s mark impressed into the base. Modern Poole always has an impressed or a raised mark which is built into the mould. Designer’s marks are also sometimes found painted under the glaze.
Other marks found on some pots are factory trial and control marks although further research is needed to be certain of their true meaning. These include a black or white glaze spot, and impressed marks of an anchor, a star, and a hexagon (like the end of a hexagonal shaped pencil).
The combination of all these factors allows you to date each piece to within a few years of production and add to the joy and interest in collecting Poole TRADITIONAL pottery.
Sue Smith and Roger Hartley
Poole Pottery Collectors Club
|Vase in a golden lustre glaze|
|Marks on the base of the Vase|
were in use 1900 - 1908