Poole Pottery

Poole pottery 1950s AB Read Ripple pattern gravy boat.

Poole pottery 1950s AB Read Ripple pattern gravy boat.

Poole Pottery is a well known English pottery brand, based in Staffordshire. The pottery was founded in 1873 on Poole quayside, and produced pottery there by hand until moving to a factory in 1999.

Production continued at a new site in Sopers Lane until its closure in 2006 but the brand name lives on.

For me, Poole pottery epitomises mid-century style with it’s beautiful glazes and stylist retro designs.

I recently acquired this beautiful dinner set, comprising 6 dinner plates, 6 salad plates, 6 desert plates, 2 tureens, 3 platters, 6 soup couples and saucers and a gravy boat and under plate.  It’s pretty unusual to find a complete dinner set in anything these days but this was one of the rarer patterns, “Ripple”, designed by AB Read in the 1950s.

Sadly I’ll probably have to split it to pass it on and this always seems a bit of a shame as it really is stunning in its entirety.  A wonderful example of the stylish and modern designs that Poole pottery was creating in the period known as mid-century covering the 1950s to the 1970s.  The entire set is available from http://www.antikseramika.co.uk, please contact mail@antikseramika.co.uk for further information.

Poole Pottery 1950s mid century tureens by AB Read for Poole Pottery - available at Antik Seramika

pair of Ripple pattern mid century retro Poole Pottery platters by AB Read - Available at Antik Seramikaset of six Poole pottery mid-century 1950s dinner plates by AB Read in Ripple pattern - available at Antik SeramikaSet of six retro mid-century soup couples by Poole Pottery in Ripple pattern by AB Read - available from Antik SeramikaMid-century retro 1950 Poole Pottery Ripple Platter by AB Read - available from Antik Seramika


Beautiful jewellery made from broken vintage and antique china

Portmeirion totem blue china cufflinks in solid silver mount, handmade by Ophelia Mills Jewellery

Sometimes in my travels I find something so imaginative and lovely that I have to talk about it.   This applies to Ophelia Mills Jewellery, a company created on the basis of  a need to use beautiful china that would otherwise be thrown away and the Japanese art of Kintsugi (金継ぎ, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, きんつくろい, “golden repair”).  Kintsugi is where  broken pottery is repaired with lacquer dusted with  powdered gold silver or platinum.

Kinstsugi inspired Ophelia to design and make a range of gorgeous jewellery made from exquisite bits of broken antique and vintage china surrounded by solid silver mounts.   Kintsugi treats breakage and repair of china as part of the history of an object whereas Ophelia Mills is giving it a new lease of life.

Graffiti Stripe cufflinks made from vintage china in silver mounts - Ophelia Mills Jewellery

It’s a rather lovely option if you have a piece of china with great sentimental importance that gets broken, as Ophelia accepts bespoke commissions and you can have it made into a wonderful jewellery set or some cufflinks, whatever suits you.

To see her range of lovely vintage and antique china jewellery, visit her website www.opheliamills.co.uk.  She’s just been featured in World of Interiors magazine for christmas gift ideas so now might be the time to take a look before everyone else does.

Franz Anton Mehlem Fish sets

This Antique fish set was my favourite discovery of 2016.  It was made in a German factory known by the name of Franz Anton Mehlem and dates to the Art Nouveau period, probably between 1885 to 1905. Mehlem was in production until 1920 when the company was sold to Villeroy and Boch.  The factory existed under other names from 1755 and a new factory but came into it’s own in the late 19th century when they began using two coal-fired kilns instead of the old wood-burning type kiln in the previous facility.  At some point the company was renamed after the father of the two Mehlem brothers, Franz Anton Mehlem. The Mehlem company stood in direct competition with the famous company of Villeroy & Boch in Mettlach at one time, which may explain why they eventually brougth the Mehlem factory.

During the latter part of the 19th century  the factory was further modernised, a few new buildings were added and a lot of old technology was replaced.  New pump stations and transmissions were installed as well as modern machinery. When Everhard Mehlem died the factory changed hands again and in 1886, Franz Guilleaume, the current owner moved into the ‘Chateau du Rhin’, the Mehlem family home, which had actually been empty since the death of Everhard Joseph Mehlem in 1865. The year 1887 saw the installation of new mills and shortly afterwards a new steam engine replaced the old machinery used to knead the clay. The product range of the business changed significantly and they produced household, decorative, technical and sanitary items and also porcelain clock cases for the American Ansonia Clock Company during the latter part of the 19th century. Between 1887 and 1903 the company also produced Höchst figurines from the original molds from the defunct Höchst factory. This fish set was probably made about this time. Another two kilns and a chimney were installed around this time and the word ‘Royal’ and the year ‘1755’ were added to the company mark in 1890 and used until the company was sold to Villeroy & Boch.

This beautiful fish set, which is only missing the tureen, is an unusual example of their work as it’s flow blue with turquoise and gold and I’ve never seen one like it.  They produced a lot of beautiful fish sets, many white with beautifully painted fish but this is the first flow blue one I’ve seen.  There are about eight different types of fresh water fish depicted on these plates.

The 15 piece set is available to buy on Antik Seramika’s Ebay shop






W H Grindley and Sons Ivory Ware – a rare 41 piece tea set

W H Grindley & Son Ivory ware Winthrop 1930s 41 piece tea set

This is probably the most complete large tea set I’ve ever acquired.  In the 19th and early 20th century most tea services were for 12 with an enormous sugar bowl and a slop bowl too for the tea leaves.  I always wondered how one teapot filled all those cups but clearly they had to keep topping up and often they came with a large hot water jug as well.   This tea set has everything it would have had except either the slop bowl or the sugar bowl. It’s got one large bowl which could be the slop bowl or the sugar bowl, from now on it’s the sugar bowl.   People used to take a lot more sugar than they do now, hence very large sugar bowls.

W H Grindley and Sons manufactured earthenware from Tunstall, Stoke on Trent from 1880 to 1991.  This particular tea set dates from the 1930s 1940s and is part of the Ivory trademark.  The ltd on the mark dates the tea set from 1925 onwards but the style takes it to the 1930s even 1940s.

If you find a Grindley item with Tunstall in the back stamp then it’s one of the older pieces prior to 1891.

Some of the items are marked with a pattern “Winthrop” but I can’t find any record of it and what’s really unusual about this set is that there are 41 pieces including the teapot, jug and sugar bowl and two cake plates. It’s rare to find 12 trios though.

This tea set is currently for sale Antik Seramika’s ebay shop at £59.99 including postage or directly from Antik Seramika at mail@antikseramika.co.uk for £52.00 including postage.

A little bit of history on A.G Harley-Jones pottery from Stoke-on-Trent

A G Harley Jones pottery vase from Art Deco period.

I while back I found this rather attractive vase at an auction.  It was marked A G Harley Jones Wilton Ware and it had a bit of an art nouveau going into deco feel about it but at first I thought it might be a modern copy of something older.  I put it on Ebay and described it as best I could and it sold very quickly.  The buyer then wrote to me and told me that A G Harley-Jones was actually his grandfather and he was gradually getting a collection of his pottery together.

The buyer wrote this about his grandfather and sent it to me as I thought it would be nice to have something more on Mr Harley Jones as this was quite an attractive piece and his pottery legacy should live on.

“I never knew any of my grandparents, as they were all dead by the time I was four. As an only child, therefore, there was not much talk of families! But my mother used to refer to parts of her childhood with references to the potteries. Although born in Blackpool, she grew up in the Stoke-on-Trent area and there was talk of “pot-banks” in the family. I can remember frequent references to “lustre ware”.   I did some family history whilst she was alive, and fortunately extracted some reminiscences from her but I’ve discovered quite a bit more since.

My mother’s Grandfather was William Hiram-Jones (1844 – 1906) and his will of 1896 describes him as an earthenware manufacturer of Stoke-on-Trent. His executors and trustees were his two sons, Thomas William Lear Jones (my Grandfather) and Arthur George Harley Jones (rather more famous in pottery terms) and his son-in-law Albert Leonard Walley (married to his daughter, Jenny Eleanor Evans Jones).

William Hiram Jones married Hannah Lear in Smallthorne (near Stoke-on-Trent) in 1867. He was described as an oil merchant in Manchester and his father was also described as an oil merchant. Hannah Lear’s father, Samuel Lear, was described as a potter and he was also shown as a potter on her 1845 birth certificate (she was born in Norton-le-Moors near Stoke-on-Trent). I possess a jug bearing his initials “SL” and dated 1846 but with no potters marks on the base.

I had some jotted notes from my (long since deceased) mother and it looks as though William HiramJones and Sam Lear were influential in getting Thomas and Arthur to go into the pottery trade. She remembers her father (Thomas) and Arthur discussing transfers on paper sheets for pottery, she thought from Germany, and she was always given unwanted samples to cut out and use for her scrapbook. Her mother told her that her father lost all his money during the strike of 1912 because he would not stock up on coal (she called it a General Strike but it must have been the great unrest of 1911/2 and the national Miners Strike of 1912). Arthur kept going because he stocked up with coal before the strike. Arthur begged Thomas to get coal in but he did not believe a strike would happen. When it did, Thomas lost all his pottery in unfired form in his pot-bank. This was his downfall and he fell on hard times thereafter. My mother correctly remembered that Arthur’s pottery was called the Royal Vienna Art Pottery, which she thought was from about 1907 to 1934, which sounds about right and that it was in Fenton and other addresses. I now realise that Arthur Harley Jones’s work lives on in a modest way and can be found on e-bay! Some of it, like this vase, is still attractive and timeless. Other items, many quite pleasant, are described as lustre-ware, explaining why I heard references to it when young, and yet other items are somewhat larger and rather ugly”

Thanks to Ian Dufour for providing such a wonderful background to his grandfather Arthur Harley Jones’s work as a pottery in the early 20th century. He made some beautiful pottery and it’s lovely to be able to preserve a bit of the history.

For art deco porcelain and china go to www.antikseramika.co.uk


Staffordshire cats and dogs – well I think they are!

I thought these guys deserved a mention on here.  I found them in the bottom of a box of junk and something told me they were interesting.  One was damaged and the other was in good condition, but minus the baize on the bottom.   I took one to a car boot sale and a dealer pounced on it instantly so I told him it was reserved for someone and took it home. I then took the undamaged one to an Antique and Vintage fair and a well known TV antiques dealer asked about him.   He told me that the pair would be much more interesting to a buyer,  so I reunited him with his friend and did some research. Turned out they were quite old, still struggling to work out whether they were cats or dogs but consensus seemed to be that one was a cat and one a dog.  Apparently they are Staffordshire and early to mid 18th Century.  Who would have thought it!   There was a lot of interest in them when I eventually got round to putting them online to sell them and they ended up in America.  It taught me a valuable lesson, always do your research first.

Bjorn Wiinblad – Feuervogel, designed for Rosenthal

Here’s something a little unsual.   Bjorn Wiinblad is probably one of Denmark’s most famous mid century designers.   He was a painter and artist in ceramics and metalware and his work is famous throuout the world.  He was born in 1918 and died in 2006.  He was never conventionally Danish, and whilst functionalism ruled in Denmark, Bjørn Wiinblad had went in an entirely different direction using curves, rich colours and more hedonistic approaches.   I think this design for the high quality German porcelain company, Rosenthal is testament to that love of colour and pattern.  This is called Feuervogel or Firebird in English, and it’s really quite a rare design.   I was lucky enough to acquire 17 pieces in one lot and I’m strugging to part with them as they really are so beautiful and timeless. It’s hard to imagine when you look at them that the design is 50 years old.  I haven’t put all the pieces up for aslae.  These are living in my house at the moment until I tired of looking at them ( might be a whilte) but a couple of the larger pieces are on my Antik Seramika Ebay shop

Art Deco Empire ware and some Johnson Brothers Pareek too.

For some reason this gorgeous tea set was never popular.  I acquired it in a large lot and thought it was absolutely gorgeous.  Pretty shapes, with a slight art deco twist but most likely from the 1930s and of course, gorgeous colours.   I seem to have this set for ever before anyone bought it.  I’ve have another one by Johnson Brothers in similar colours and no interest in that one either.    When I first started trying to sell them, cups and saucers and trios were selling like wildfire, which is not the case now, but still they never went anywhere. Finally after about two years somebody purchased this lovely tea set and it’s got a new home now.  I still have the Johnsons Pareek set below, which suprises me.  I might keep it for me as it’s got such a lovely springtime feel about it.  Then again, if you know someone who’s interested then email me at mail@antikseramika.co.uk or take a look at some of the items for sale at http://www.antikseramika.co.uk/


A Georgian watercolour

I’m still researching this one really but I was captivated by this slightly water damaged painting.   At first I thought it was a print as it was amongst a lot of prints and some real rubbish.  I later discovered three more lovely watercolours in the lot. Two from the 1920s and a beautiful still life of a melon in it’s original maple frame.  Sometimes you just get lucky.    It seems to be by a gentlemen called Henry Harding.  I have found reference to a Henry Harding living around this time but only very vague information.   It’s small and a little foxed but clearly a beautiful quality work.  It’s dated 1819, which fits with the references I’ve found.

Interestingly, I asked Sothebys for an opinion on it but they kindly replied that it wasn’t in their price range being only worth around £500.   I just have to get it remounted and tidied up now but I don’t think I’ll be asking that for it. Take a look at some of the items I have for sale on my new website at http://www.antikseramika.co.uk/