As a reaction to mass production, ‘art pottery’ enjoyed wide popularity at the end of the 19th century. Names like Carter (Poole), Pilkingtons (Salford), Linthorpe (Middlesborough), William De Morgan (London) and Ruskin (Smethwick) all emerged in this period. Among the most successful and enduring was the Moorcroft pottery in Cobridge, Staffordshire.
William Moorcroft (1872-1945), an art school graduate and the son of a Burslem china painter and designer, was first employed in 1897 as a 24-year-old designer for the commercial pottery and porcelain firm of James Macintyre & Co.
Within a year he was in charge of the company’s ornamental ware department and, by 1904, the Art Nouveau-influenced Florian Ware that perfected the technique of trailing slip known as tube-lining had won him a gold medal at the St Louis International Exhibition.