Welcome to Pottery-English.com
If, like us, you have an interest in antiques and pottery, Pottery-English is the site for you. If you are trying to find the meaning of elusive pottery marks or need to research famous potters we have a large selection of both and are adding to the site all the time. There are some useful guides about how to look after your collection, and even start your collection. Please feel free to bookmark the site and browse at your convenience. Don’t forget to check back in with us for new guides and reference material.
People have admired fine china pottery for centuries, but collecting ordinary domestic pottery and local wares is a more recent interest.
Pottery by fashionable makers and designers is expensive, especially in antique shops and specialised sales, but it is still possible to build an interesting collection of modern ceramics without breaking the bank.
Starting a pottery collection
Keep your eyes open. You need great enthusiasm and a willingness to hunt for interesting pottery everywhere you go.Look out for antique fairs, general auctions, house clearance sales, junk shops and car boot sales – anywhere that might have china and pottery for sale. Have you looked in your own attic.
Fakes and copies
Copies of expensive china are common. After years of the Antiques Roadshow, there are not many genuine Ming vases just waiting to be picked up for a song, but some copies have become collectable and valuable in their own right. The recent vogue for Clarice Cliff has led to faking of pieces like the conical sugar shakers – the originals can fetch thousands of pounds at auction.
The cunning forgers use household dust from vacuum cleaners and tea to age their copies. Look out for normal wear, particularly on the base of household pottery – genuine wear from years of use is more difficult to fake than dust.
The makers pottery marks can help with identification, but fakes may have convincing copies of the makers mark – though it may not be the right mark. Some fakes of Wedgwood pieces bear the marks of Dresden and Chelsea.Most makers have changed their marks over the years, so identification of genuine marks can be tricky. Happily there are plenty of books on pottery marks, which you can buy or consult in libraries.
Learn about pottery
Try to learn as much as you can about the makers and objects that you collect through books and sale catalogues. There may be collectors clubs that you can join to find out more and to share information with fellow enthusiasts.
Collecting objects to do with a particular subject is popular. Favourites include famous characters, pets, farm or wild animals and birds. Sporting themes, especially golf and cricket, which appeal to many collectors are priced accordingly.
Small potteries flourished almost everywhere in Britain. Interest in their wares is continuing to grow and they have become very popular with collectors. Nowadays the best pieces command high prices, especially in local sales.
Small is beautiful
And often less expensive. You could choose from the many small 20th-century domestic pieces which are still widely available, especially items such as bowls, mugs, jugs, eggcups, toast-racks, ashtrays and thimbles.
As with all collectables, damage and wear reduces the value. It is arguable whether even a skilful repair will add much to the value, but it may improve the appearance.
If you can find it, the original packaging may add to the interest and value of the piece.
Good luck with the pot hunting!