Cat models were made by mainly by Aller Vale, while Watcombe and Longpark produced smaller quantities. They are all quirky and humorous, not lifelike, the main characteristic being elongated necks of a grotesque style. They are very popular with collectors and come in a variety of forms and patterns, some of which are illustrated on this page.
They are all hard to find, some less so, while others are extremely rare.
The eyes may have been replaced with modern plastic ones that have a circular pupil; the original glass eyes have oval black pupils, usually with yellow or green as the background colour. Restoration to look out for is usually related to paws and to ears. They come in both red clay and, more commonly, white clay.
Plain Green 6” Aller Vale Cats are probably the most common, other plain colours include yellow, blue, black, turquoise, honey/amber. Aller Vale also decorated with a Stars and Moons pattern plus motto, a Galle style, and a turquoise green with lighter green and brown highlights. The latter two are both extremely rare.
Sizes are generally 6”, 9” and 12”, approximately, although larger, smaller and miniature models also occur.
Winking Cats were probably sold singly as well as in matching pairs. Most Winking Cats are what I call ‘Left Facing’, ie with the cat facing you the body is to the right , which means that the Cat has it’s head turned to it’s left. The ‘Right Facing’ are probably only 1 in 10, this implies that the ‘Left Facing’ cats were what was sold individually and therefore at a lower price. The ‘Right Facing’ therefore were originally sold as part of a facing pair.
Watcombe Cats are often decorated with green and brown blobs on a cream ground with a motto, often ‘Has anyone seen our cat’, as well as plain colours akin to Aller Vale.
Longpark Cats are hard to find, the most desirable being the quirky ‘Musick’ cat playing a banjo.
Prices paid for cats reflect rarity and popularity, generally in the £70 to £300 range.
Cats also feature as a decoration on Vases and Jugs, examples are also included in the picture gallery such as from the Tor Vale pottery.
By contrast our canine friends are hardly represented at all! (see a few photos at the end of the gallery)
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