A Meander Around Wade Pottery, Ceramics and Earthenware
When you think of Wade pottery, many of us would probably think of Wade Whimsies (unless you are a Wade collector) but I think that is a real shame. In fact, Wade have produced industrial ceramics, and some wonderful porcelain and earthenware objets d’art over the years.
Wade Ceramics Limited, Staffordshire, UK, is a pottery established in 1810 and still manufacturing today at a brand new factory only opened in 2010. When first founded, the company actually comprised several companies, established by different members of the Wade extended family, eventually uniting to form Wade Potteries Limited in the 1950s.
As I have already mentioned, Wade are best known, in the UK and USA, for creating and manufacturing Whimsies from 1954: small porcelain animal figurines, which were low priced and highly collectable.
I am one of many people whom, as child, set out to collect as many different whimsies as my pocket money and Saturday job would allow me to buy! This hobby didn’t stretch to my adulthood- I was a student for 7 years and money didn’t reach that far!
Some of the older and rarer (pre-1970s) whimsies are increasing significantly in value and worth £20-40 each, if in good condition and boxed.
Wade Range of Ceramics
But… Wade also produced a wide range of eclectic and wonderfully detailed ornaments, tea services, and face masks, in all shapes and sizes, including:-
- Cartoon and disney characters,
- Birds and animals of all types
- Famous people
- Characters from the literary, film, opera, and music world
- Nursery rhyme characters
- Advertising wares (including Scotch Whisky decanters)
This Wade pin dish features quite a racy looking Queen of Hearts!
Jessie Van Hallen
One of the most famous designers at Wade, and contemporary to Clarice Cliff, was Jessie Van Hallen. There is a fascinating blog about her on the Wade Collectors Club website, written by David Chown. I especially love her 1938 version of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ figurines, which were produced with support from Disney, and sold for £1.00 a set and now worth considerably more!
These small but detailed 1950s yachts sit nicely on my bathroom wall. They were actually ‘Made in Ireland’ at the Wade (Ulster) Ltd factory established in the 1930s by Colonel Sir George Wade. This factory closed in the 1990s. We are missing the smallest yacht in the set of three but I’m still looking!
This little basket was also made by Wade under their ‘Noveltio’ brand.
Wade were commissioned by ‘Survival Anglia Limited’ to produce some animal figurines based on their popular TV Series ‘The World of Survival’. Two series of figurines were produced between 1976 and 1982.
The polar bear is from the first series. All of the animal figurines are highly prized.
Don’t forget to check those back marks! Antique Marks has a very good pictorial representation of the key marks used at the various Wade UK and the Ulster factories. There have been many copies and reproductions of Wade but few can compare with the original, unless made from the same mould. Wade and a few other companies have reproduced limited editions of some of the vintage items, using the original moulds, but these are clearly marked.
If you are interested in collecting Wade, then the Wade Collector’s Club website is an excellent source of information. We also have on or two vintage pieces for sale on our website and in our Etsy shop.