A Brief Introduction to the Ruskin Pottery

30 Aug 2011

The Ruskin Pottery was established in 1890 by William Howson Taylor (1876-1935) and his father, Edward R Taylor, who was a principal of the Birmingham School of Art.

Established in Sandwell, England, the pottery was named after the famous contemporary Victorian art historian John Ruskin (1819-1900). The father and son set out to make unrivalled pottery.

At first they used local clays but later began importing white china clay. The clay was finely and expertly thrown on a wheel, to such an extent that its finesse rivalled fine porcelain. The wares were fired at very high temperatures and the oxygen in the kiln was reduced as the glaze melted, so producing a wild and violent reaction in the glaze that it in turn altered the colour.

The final palette was quite unpredictable, varying from the hues of deep red to mottled purple. They also produced the famous flambé glazes.

The pottery closed down in 1935 and the materials and recipes did not survive. Nowadays Ruskin Pottery is very collectable and usually attracts fierce bidding among those looking to buy and sell antiques at auctions or elsewhere, especially if a rare design or glaze piece comes up for sale.

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