George Clews & Co Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 5
Not many people will probably have heard of the Staffordshire based George Clews & Co Pottery, unless you are a collector of teapots or their studio art pottery Chameleon Ware. In which case, you will be a connoisseur of their beautiful and innovative designs!
The earthenware manufacturer was established in 1906 at the Progressive Works in Burslem, prior to moving to Brownhills Pottery in Tunstall. Although the firm was called George Clews, it was actually managed by his son, Percy. Teapots were the mainstay of production at the pottery. Manufacture even continued during World War 2 (WW2).
Clews produced teapots, and accessories, for domestic use, hotels and ocean liners. Along with several other manufacturers, including Johnson (original designer and owner of the Cube Teapots Ltd). They produced the ‘cube’ teapots for the iconic Cunard Ocean liners, Queen Mary (1936) and Queen Elizabeth (1946). These cleverly designed teapots were cube shaped to prevent them rolling around in rough seas. You can find a tea set at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.
Their back mark comprised a printed globe mark with the name of the pattern or the company on the central band. You can barely make out the back mark on the left hand image below. This is not to be confused with the fairly similar back mark used by Arthur Wood: right image.
Chameleon Ware was introduced as a trade name in 1906 but studio art pottery wasn’t introduced until 1913. Initially the back mark was impressed with the name Chameleon before moving to a printed mark in 1935.
The handpainted Chameleon ware reached the height of its popularity during the 1930s Art Deco period when production exceeded that of the teapots! Abstract shapes and patterns; Egyptian and Persian inspired shapes were all the rage, and produced in matt or lustre glazes. Animal figurines were also produced in the range using the same, predominantly green/ blue/ brown, colour palette as the art pottery.
WW2 brought an end to the manufacture of Chameleon Ware and, despite modernisation of the factory in the late 1940s, the business eventually went into liquidation in 1961.