William Hart started the Exeter Art Pottery in premises at 7 Exe Street in December 1890. He had previously been the foreman at the Aller Vale Pottery. Both Hart and Herbert Bulley (another Aller Vale employee) are named as employers at the pottery in the 1891 census and Charles Collard was an employee.
By February 1891 Exeter Art Pottery was advertising a new showroom open to visitors, and patterns such as Rhodian, Renaissance and Barbotine.
Cole and Trelease replaced Bulley and Hart as tenants in the 1892 rate book. John Trelease was a draper in the High Street and Cole was probably W.V. Cole the local printer. These two were probably the financiers.
1893 saw Alfred Moist an experienced thrower join Hart from Staffordshire.
The Exeter Art Pottery made a large variety of products ranging from loving cups, tygs with mottoes (often with spurious dates), beakers, and eggcups through to large art pots in classic shapes.
The height of their production was in 1894 when they exhibited at the Devon County Show. A report said that they showed 184 shapes and designs in numerous colours. The same year an advert in the Pottery gazette showed large classical vases in a variety of patterns.
Trelease left the pottery and Exeter in 1894, and George Boundy a local tanner became the lessee.
In November 1896 there was an advert in the Pottery Gazette offering a “Special Offer” sale from George Boundy’s premises in Okehampton Street. This led people to believe that the Exeter Art Pottery closed and that Hart and Moist started a new pottery. In reality George Boundy probably took his share of the stock and sold it off and Hart and Moist took their share to set up their pottery on the site they had bought in Tan Lane. They were already advertising in October 1896 before Boundy’s sale.
Moist’s brother Joseph (a turner) joined them from Staffordshire and they renamed their pottery “Devon Art Pottery” commonly known as Hart and Moist.
With thanks to Joan Allen for research and text.
Pottery marks and backstamps with dates and more information for this pottery as well as over 250 other Torquay, Devon and West Country potteries can be found in the TPCS Marks Book see ‘Products for Sale’
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