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William Moorcroft was born in 1873 and first began experimenting with his own pottery designs around 1896 while working for James Macintyre & Co Ltd. William's artistry and designs were quickly recognized for their quality and innovation. His first important design was the Aurelian Ware, part transfer and part hand painted. Very shortly thereafter, around the turn of the century, he developed his famous Florian Ware, with heavy slip, done in mostly blue and white. Since the early 1900s there has been a succession of designs, most of them very characteristic of the company. The 1920s were good years for Moorcroft, partnering with a well known London store Liberty to offer its unique flambe glaze pottery to the eager public. In 1929 Queen Mary, who had been collecting his pottery, made him "Potter to the Queen," and the pottery was so stamped up until 1949.

Moorcroft went through a Japanese stage in the early teens with his lovely lustre glazes, oriental shapes, and decorations. During the mid-teens he began to produce his most popular Pomegranate Ware and Wisteria (often called 'Fruit'). Around that time he also designed the popular Pansy line as well as Leaves and Grapes. Soon he introduced a beautiful landscape series called variously Hazeldine, Moonlit Blue, Eventide, and Dawn. These wonderful designs along with Claremont (Mushrooms) seem to be the most sought after by collectors today. During the 1920s and '30s, Moorcroft became very interested in highly fired Flambe (red) glazes. These could only be achieved through a very difficult procedure which he himself perfected in secret. He later passed the knowledge on to his son.

The richness of the Moorcroft glazes gave its pottery unusually deep and vivid colors, developed jointly by William Moorcroft and his son Walter. Walter took over the pottery in 1945 at the end of World War II and just before William's death in 1946, and he maintained the tradition of quality and innovation. Moorcroft now moved into a number of floral designs interpreting the earlier work of Tiffany, Galle, and others in a new and unique style. Moorcroft was quite prosperous through most of these times as the public demand for its works remained high. Fortunes started to change in the 1960s and continued for a number of years, culminating in the sale of a controlling interest to an outsider and the beginnings of "mass production." Needless to say, this switch destroyed the quality reputation of Moorcroft, and subsequent ownership changes into the early 1990s kept the company in a constant state of flux. Walter Moorcroft retired in 1987, and Sally Dennis assumed the leadership, beginning a period of female executives restoring Moorcroft to financial and artistic health. Rachel Bishop replaced Sally in 1993, and new designs have once again restored Moorcroft to a position of relevance in fine art pottery.

Dating of this pottery is done by knowledge of the designs, shapes, signatures, and marks on the bottom of each piece; an experienced person can usually narrow it down to a short time frame.

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British Art Deco Ceramics (Schiffer Book for Collectors) Moorcroft: A Guide to Moorcroft Pottery 1897-1993
Art Deco: 1910-1939
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