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Exhibition Plate: C.25-2014

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Exhibition Plate


Maker: Moorcroft Pottery




Cream earthenware plate with slip trailed design, painted underglaze in dull shades of ochre, red, dark red, and blue-black, with 'Pomegranate' pattern.

Circular plate with very shallow curved sides rising to a narrow flared rim, standing on a low foot-ring. The front is decorated with the words ‘MOORCROFT/POTTERY’ between horizontal bands of pomegranates, berries and leaves, and scale pattern, all on a ground which shades from ochre to green. The reverse is painted bright blue, except for the circular area inside the foot-rim, with clear glaze over.


History note: Bonhams, 21 May 2014, The Ken Manley collection of Moorcroft Pottery, lot 135; Lord and Lady Archer

Legal notes

Given by Lord and Lady Archer

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 26 cm
Height: 3 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Cobridge ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2014-11-24) by Archer, Lord and Lady


20th Century, Early
George V
Circa 1913 CE - Circa 1920 CE


Moorcroft designed both the shape and decoration of his pottery, each complementing the other, and experimented widely with glazes and decorating processes. He favoured curvilinear, naturalistic forms and by 1910-11, when ‘Pomegranate’ design was introduced, was using rich colours applied in bold, sweeping designs. The light slip-trailing combined with under-glaze oxides applied one over another to blend together in the first firing gives tonal variety, whilst the glaze firing enhances the brilliance of the colours. 'Pomegranate', sold at Liberty’s under the trade name 'Murena', became one of Moorcroft’s most popular designs and continued in production at the new pottery. It is rare to find a piece with the 'Moorcroft Pottery' name inscribed so prominently; this plate was perhaps used for advertising or to commemorate an event such as the opening of the new pottery. During the 1920s, unmarked imitation 'Pomegranate' wares were produced by a local rival.

William Moorcroft (1872-1945), the son of a potteries artist and designer, trained at Burslem School of Art and in London and Paris. From c.1897-1913 he was chief designer for James Macintyre & Co.’s new Art Pottery department, in Burslem. His designs were sold through Tiffany of New York, Liberty of London and other prestigious stores. In 1913, Macintyre’s reverted to industrial wares and some thirty workers transferred to a newly established Moorcroft Pottery, in Sandbach Road, Cobridge, set up with financial support from Liberty’s. Both pottery businesses continue today.

School or Style

Art Pottery

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: impressed at one side of base near footring and on opposite side near footring

  • Location: On base within footring
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: written in large capitals with right stroke of W adjoining left stroke of M and with a slanting line below

  • Text: WM
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue underglaze
  • Type: Initials or symbols

Inscription present: circular greenish-grey stick-on paper with reserved white lettering, the words following the curve of the label with number between them

  • Text: Ken Manley/135/Bonhams
  • Location: On base two identical
  • Method of creation: Printed in reserve
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.25-2014
Primary reference Number: 200087
Entry form number: 1098
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 20 January 2015 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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