Founded in 1897, the Moorcroft company is one of the last remaining independent art potteries in the world, still operating in the original factory in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. Its creator, William Moorcroft was originally part of James Macintyre & Co. – a larger ceramics studio. Moorcroft used to personalise the pieces that he personally produced with his own initials. His signed designs soon became more popular than the house brand and Moorcroft broke off into his own production factory.
After his death in 1945, the operation of the company was taken over by his son Walter. The company floundered until 1984, when the bulk of its shares were sold on the open market. Since 1993, Moorcroft has been mainly controlled by the Edwards family.
The company produces a variety of ceramic and pottery products including display plates, vases, pin dishes, lamp bases and jars. These products make excellent collectibles and are aimed at luxury end collectors and gifts markets.
Moorcroft pottery is known for its distinctive and attractive design with bold colours and nature-inspired decoration. The designs are a result of a patented, labour intensive method called tubelining, producing the intricate embossed designs present on most Moorcroft ceramics. All products are also hand-painted, elevating them to luxury art status.
When it comes to buying or selling Moorcroft pottery, there are few things to consider. There is a lot of Moorcroft on the market at the moment, much of it modern. Some would say that it’s not rare enough and would advise you to avoid it, but there is a market for it. Refrain from dealing in just Modern Moorcroft, if you can – you might not be allowed into all fairs and centres with it. Try specialist sales and collections for the older samples and see the factory’s work at its best.
Moorland and Cobridge are two sub-divisions of Moorcroft but they are still yet to develop their own styles and identities so would be best to avoid them for the time being.