Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BBC bargain hunt tips - What is Moorcroft Pottery?

Moorcroft pottery is often a profit maker on episodes of the TV show “Bargain hunt” on BBC TV.

The Moorcroft pottery is one of the last remaining independent art potteries in the world today and still operates out of the original brick factory in Stoke-on-Trent.

It is currently fashionable and sought after in the antiques trade and with the Moorcroft name on a piece of pottery can make a winning item for the Bargain Hunt teams (or at least wipe its face!)

Originally founded in 1897 within a larger ceramic company, James Macintyre & Co. Moorcroft pottery soon made its mark on the world. Designs came from 24 year old William Moorcroft who personalised each piece of pottery produced with his own signature or initials.

In 1912 the inevitable split occurred. William took his team to a new factory in Sandbach Road where Moorcroft pottery is still made today. The money for this venture came from Liberty, the famous London store and Liberty continued to control Moorcroft until 1962.

In 1904, Moorcroft won a gold medal at the St Louis International Exhibition and followed up the achievement with further medals and commendations, culminating in the appointment of the Moorcroft Company as Potter to HM The Queen in 1928.

In 1962, the Moorcroft family bought out Liberty, but Moorcroft seldom prospered. Finally, in 1984, the family sold the bulk of their shares on the open market. After several material shareholder changes in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, Moorcroft is now controlled by the Edwards family, and has been since 1993.

In 1993, Rachel Bishop joined Moorcroft as only its fourth designer in almost a hundred years. Just 24 years old, she was soon to see sales of her work flourish. Following that success came the Moorcroft centenary in 1997, and in the same year the Moorcroft Design Studio was formed, originally comprising no less than eight designers with Rachel at their head.

Recently the world profile of Moorcroft has grown internationally, both in quality and in perceived value. Auctioneers Christies hold a dedicated Moorcroft sale each year. In 2001, Sotheby’s New York holds a major sale comprising many pieces of Moorcroft pottery. The Victoria & Albert museum has joined many other national museums with significant pieces of Moorcroft pottery in their permanent collections.

Today, Moorcroft leads the world of art pottery with its own distinctive design style. With added value coming from the skills and craftsmanship of a dedicated workforce, Moorcroft is selling more of its magnificent ware all over the world today, than it did even in its previous heyday in the mid-1920’s.