Thursday, 2 December 2010

Upchurch Pottery 1913 - 1963

Established by the brother Seymour and Sidney Wakeley, who were farmers, hop growers and coal merchants. They appeared to have established a pottery in c1907/9 producing bricks, tiles and agricultural pipes but by 1913 they were manufacturing art pottery, possibly inspired by their friend Reginald Wells. They hired Edward J Baker (1876 - 1955), a potter who had previously worked for Wells at Chelsea and Doulton & Co.

The pots that they made were often inspired by classical Korean, Chinese or Roman forms decorated with matt or satin glazes in dull muted colours including blue green, blue, plum purples and brown. Usually two or more colour running together.

It has been suggested the Edward Spencer, the Arts and Crafts designer and founder of the Artificer Guild designed some of the shapes. Also some may have been reproductions of Roman original excavated from the nearby Villa at Faversham.

In 1936 the pottery was acquired by Oscar Caradoc Davies whose wife was Grace Barnsley daughter of the Arts and Crafts designer Sidney. She had been trained by Alfred and Louise Powell and worked at Wedgwood and Co.  

In 1938 the pottery changed hands again and was bought by Alice Buxton Winnacott, who introduced a range called "Claverdon". These were mainly tea and dinner ware with some vases decorated with pale muted creams and greys. Edward Baker was joined by his sons Edward and James. Edward purchased the pottery c1953 and ran it with eldest son William until his death in 1955. William continued to run the pottery until its closure in 1963.

 To confuse matters further the Davies established "Roeginga Pottery" at Rainham in 1938. This was run by Edward Baker junior with Grace as decorator. In 1947 Edward returned to Upchurch, now known as "Rainham Pottery" and finance by a London retailer Alfred Wilson. Edward purchased the pottery in 1956 to establish "Rainham Pottery Ltd" and continued to run this until he retired in 1975. The later Rainham Pottery's main output was commemorative and tourist wares.

All the potteries marked their products clearly but they are often difficult to date. Here are few marks with an attempt to provide dates.

 Typical incised mark. Slightly different script and probably earlier than the one below.
 This is the commonest and hardest to date. Usually earlier (pre 1938) unless with a "made in England " oval then post war.
 An early impressed mark used c1915 - 1935
 Claverdon mark usually with a date c1938 - 1948. sometimes with a "made in England" oval mark, which is post war.
 Post war Upchurch mark often with the "made in England" oval.

 Rainham Pottery Ltd mark 1956 - 1975

Still the best books on British Art Pottery are
British Ceramic Art, 1870-1940

Encyclopaedia of British art pottery, 1870-1920
Click on title to find a copy.
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