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IDENTIFICATION HINTS

Work in progress and ongoing.

Amongst pottery collectors it has long been said that the best way to become more knowledgeable is to have, hold and handle pottery. Few of us are experts, we may just know a bit more because we have done just that, collected a bit longer and handled more pottery, although keen interest and observation do play there part. At meetings of the Torquay Pottery Collectors’ Society there are mystery sessions where members bring a variety of unmarked pots to be identified. Often this can be done by the one or two chosen ‘experts’ on hand for the task but frequently other members help out and sometimes a pot is left still a mystery at the end of the group consideration.

Firstly have a look at the Not Torquay Pottery page on this site as the many examples gathered by experienced collectors and shown there can be very helpful to both the new and old collectors. Also obtain a copy of the very comprehensive TPCS Marks Book to help identify difficult to understand back stamps or potters marks.

One has to bear in mind that over the years the South Devon potteries changed ownership, with fashions and styles also changing. Many pottery workers and decorators changed jobs more than once. Thus similarities occurring between designs, shapes or motto lettering etc. Other factors can also be considered like the decorating technique, glaze, slip or pigment colours as well as the clay body of the pot.

Below are some Scandy illustrations to help identification also photographs of confusing pots if they were found without a back stamp or potters mark. Included with some photographs are simple identification hints.

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DEVONSHIRE POTTERIES

The Devonshire Potteries Ltd. was on the site of The Bovey Tracy Art Pottery and came into being on the demise of that pottery.  DPLtd. was the simple impressed mark initially used and the pottery became incorporated in July 1947 with Mr Vincent Kane a decorator as one of the owners together with M. Kane. Later a Mr Boulton was in charge and working there during the following years were Les Manley, Bill Bowden, Donald Doxley and Ron Jackson pottery thrower and all rounder who was there 1953-57.

Worth looking out for are the finer coloured scrolls reminiscent of the earlier Torquay potteries scrolls. They can be found mostly on jugs and vases and were decorated by Bob Birbeck who was there some time during the 1950s.

It is said that due to workers changing jobs or when there was short time working that there was an interchange of workers with the older established nearby Devon Tors Pottery so similar styles in both thrown shapes and decorations occurred making identification of unmarked items difficult.

The business mostly produced table wares decorated with scrolls, polka dot, seagulls, kingfishers and sail boats but they made very few art or cottage motto wares. The pottery was sold to G. Hardy & Co. in 1954 and shortly afterwards produced moulded animals marked Trentham Art Ware Devon with the overall business closing around 1968.

We welcome many more pictures of this pottery for display on this site. If you would like to send some of your favourites from your collection please send them, or any comments,  to info@torquaypottery.co.uk

TORQUAY TERRACOTTA COMPANY

The Torquay Terracotta Company (TTC) was started 1875 at Hele Cross, Torquay by Dr. Gillow as senior director, with Thomas Bentley manager in charge of pottery manufacture and decoration. The decorators/artists employed were Alexander Fisher who was in charge of the Artist Department with Holland Birbeck, Messrs. Clarke, Grocott, Skinner and Walker also a Miss Bridges and Miss Paulton.

The company produced very high quality decorative pottery often similar and in competition with the Watcombe Pottery. These included terracotta moulded figures and busts as well as vases and urns decorated with enamels. Many plaques and other items were finely painted with flowers, birds or outline figures. A notable employee who joined the company in 1875 was the master turner William Higginbottom. His work can be identified by the “Birds Feet” mark on the base of the turned pottery items. Later about 1890 when these terracotta pottery items became less fashionable TTC produced a range of flown glazed pottery and these are usually back stamped Stapleton. Unfortunately the company failed to keep up with the changing demands and fashions so eventually had to close in 1905.

Reference: The Art of the Torquay and South Devon Potters. Articles by V. Brisco, R. Firch & E. White.

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We welcome many more pictures of this pottery for display on this site. If you would like to send some of your favourites from your collection please send them, or any comments,  to info@torquaypottery.co.uk