A Short Introduction To Gray’s Pottery
Gray’s Pottery was founded in 1907 by Albert Edward Gray (AE Gray). The company was initially set up in Manchester, England prior to moving to Hanley, Staffordshire in 1912.
They are most widely noted as a pottery decorating company, however, in the 1930s there was a fashion for matt glazed undecorated products, and several undecorated pieces were produced. This trend was most notably led by Keith Murray at Wedgwood.
Grays most famous designer was Susie Cooper, who worked there between 1922 and 1929. She started as a production-line painter before reaching the level of Art Director. Cooper implemented floral, banding and strong geometric patterns, and also produced lustre vases.
The Gloria Lustre range was a silver-medal winner at the 1925 Paris Exhibition.
Backmarks for Gray’s Pottery
The most iconic back mark for Gray’s pottery includes the ‘Clipper’ or ‘Galleon.’ This mark appears as early as the 1910s.
A variation of this backstamp was used right up to the 1950s and included two variations of Galleons, the Liner, the Clipper and the Pharaoh’s Boat. There was one exception which was the ‘Sunburst’ backmark used for the Gloria Lustre.
This commemorative plate nicely illustrates some of the main backstamps used by Gray’s.
The following image shows a 1930s Back Stamp. All brown and approximately 28x5mm in size.
This uncommon mark appeared on ware made exclusively for Gray’s Pottery.
Gray’s pottery can often be found with two (dual) backstamps, one for the original maker of the white ware with a second, often superimposed, mark for Gray’s.
The ‘Zebra’ lustre pattern was one of the last to be produced by Gray’s in the 1950s and bears the 1950s clipper backstamp.
Gray also made collectibles for many large retailers including Dunhill, Heals, Mappin and Webb, and Mottahedeh (new York). The backstamps included the name of the retailer.
Grays was bought out by Portmeirion Potteries, in 1959, on the death of Edward Gray. One of the most famous designers/ owners of Portmeirion pottery was Susan Williams- Ellis, daughter of the renowned Sir Clough William-Ellis.
Sir Clough was the creator of the beautiful Italianate village in Portmeirion, North Wales. This may be better known, at least for fans of the 1960s TV series ‘The Prisoner,’ as the home of Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan): the one with the bouncy ball on the beach, and the people in stripy blazers and straw boaters….
For a more comprehensive look at Gray’s Pottery then click on this link to the rather wonderful ‘go to’ resource http://www.grayspottery.co.uk