The Wondrous World Of Carlton Ware
I think we have established by now that I have an intrinsic love of pottery and, in particular, Staffordshire pottery. There are just so many potteries to choose from, you really do have to narrow down your collecting options!
Today, I thought that I must give Carlton Ware a mention. A Stoke-on-Trent pottery company that operated for more than a 100 years.
Over the decades, Carlton have produced 1000s of designs and models. Many of the model numbers are well documented but there are also quite a few that are missing. The Australian registered design/ pattern reference, sometimes seen as a back mark, was used to prevent copying particularly in Australia and New Zealand!
Wiltshaw And Robinson
The company was established in 1890 by James Frederick Wiltshaw, William Herbert Robinson and James Alcock Robinson. They traded as Wiltshaw and Robinson. In 1894, they trademarked the name Carlton Ware and renamed their factory ‘Carlton Works’. The recognisable Carlton Ware ‘script back mark’ was not introduced until 1928.
Carlton are probably most famous for their tableware embellished with highly decorated leaves, flowers, fruit and birds. In fact, they produced an eclectic range of pottery ephemera. Some of which is now highly collectible and increasing significantly in value, for example their Persian, Chinese and Japanese inspired shapes and designs.
Over the following years, the design and style of Carlton products varied with the arrival of different designers, heralding several eras of change at the factory. One such designer was the extremely innovative Harold Wain. He brought in the, now highly desirable, Tutankhamun inspired ceramics, following discovery of the tomb by the Egyptologist, Howard Carter, in 1922.
The Art Deco Period
The company produced hand-painted domestic pottery in high art deco styles during the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the beautiful embossed patterns are now highly recognisable, including the ‘Salad ware’ range.
Carlton also produced many types of small collectible figurines including fairies, novelty and comic characters. High lustre was introduced in 1949.
This small Art Deco Carlton Ware Rock Garden two handled ribbed Jug/ Vase was made in the 1930s and and is typical of the period. It has a pale green background with embossed spring flowers in an array of vibrant colours. The pattern is 1244 “Rock Garden, ” but this is also known as Garden Wall.
During this period that Carlton also produced advertising ware, including the ceramic ‘Guinness’ toucans as promotional items for Guinness.
The Mid- 20th Century
After WW2, Carlton again changed style and moved towards more Scandinavian type designs in the 1950s and 60s.
In 1966, the company was taken over by Arthur Wood & Sons and the company moved into less expensive lines of production. Wood also introduced a wider range of back marks. Gone were the Hand painted ‘Best ware’ styles of the early 20th Century but the 1970s did bring the ‘Walking Ware’ era: those cups with feet!
Unfortunately, a mismanaged change of ownership led to the closure of the Stoke factory in 1989. There have been several attempts at revival; some with a modicum of success too!
I hope you enjoyed my short overview of Carlton Ware. There are many different styles and designs from this pottery to suit all tastes and pockets of would-be collectors. In addition, there are some really good resources available, providing a wealth of information, including the Carlton Ware World website.