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Always handy, and don’t they dress up a bookshelf?

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18th Century English Earthenwares

Four Fresh pieces of English Earthenware, 18th century, just added to stock.


Creamware is the term for an English earthenware body with a definite ‘cream’ tone, popular in the latter half of the 18th century and replicated across Europe. It emerged from the experimentation of Staffordshire potters seeking a local alternative to expensive Chinese porcelain around 1750. Their innovation yielded a refined cream to white earthenware with a lustrous clear lead glaze, prized for its lightweight construction and pristine finish, making it ideal for household use.
It was not expensive to produce when compared with porcelain, but also not as robust; replacements were probably a necessity if you were using Creamware tea wares or tablewares. After its heyday in the 1780’s, Creamware remained popular well into the 20th century despite competition from other ceramic types. Today, it is valued for the pleasant off-white body and refined shapes often decorated with bright spontaneous on glaze enamel flowers.

Salt glaze

Salt glaze refers to a distinctive ceramic made by the English potters in the mid-18th century, with an ivory-white stoneware body lightly glazed with a clear covering having a texture resembling orange peel.
This forms on the white high-fired stoneware body when common salt is introduced into the kiln at its highest temperature. During firing, sodium from the salt reacts with silica present in the clay, resulting in the formation of a glassy sodium-silicate coating. This glaze can exhibit a range of slight hues, usually colourless but also found in shades of brown (due to iron oxide), blue (from cobalt oxide), or purple (from manganese oxide).

The result is a glistening white product, usually slip-cast and very lightweight & thin, yet also very tough. Forgive me for making the comparison, but it could be mistaken for a plastic! The glaze is transparent, and fits tight and thin against the body, meaning any moulded decoration is as sharp and crisp as the clay beneath. It has become a highly desireable field to collect in the English Earthenwares field.


The Chinese were fond of a red clay sourced near the city of Yi Xing, on the Yangtze River Delta. When Europeans started trading with them in the 17th century, the ‘Yixing Stonewares’ were a popular item. Naturally, the local European potters were keen to provide versions of this suddenly popular ware, and the potters of Delft, in Holland produced a ‘clone’ of the Chinese – often with the same decoration – in the latter 17th century, followed by the Eeler Brothers, Dutch silversmiths who came to London in the 1680’s and produced the first English redwares. Meissen was a latecomer, with J.J.Böttger discovering a fine high-fired red ware body now named after him in 1706. By the mid 18th century, the potters of Staffordshire and elsewhere were making Redwares.

Wedgwood c. 1820

Characterized by its rich reddish-brown hues derived from iron in the clay oxidising in the firing process, English Redware exemplified both utilitarian functionality and aesthetic charm. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, these pieces often featured simple yet elegant designs, at first copying the imported Chinese wares, but soon reflecting the prevailing tastes of the era. Commonly used for everyday household items such as teapots, jugs, and mugs, English redware found its place in both rural cottages and aristocratic homes alike. Despite its widespread popularity, redware production faced challenges from the emerging dominance of porcelain and other fine ceramics. Wedgwood brought it back to the tasteful table in the late 18th- early 19th century with a refined version they called ‘Rosso Antico’, and other firms through the Victorian era continued to make ‘redwares’ in small numbers. The original 18th-century English redware remains a testament to the skilled craftsmanship and enduring legacy of the era’s pottery traditions.


Jackfield Teapot close-up
Jackfield Teapot close-up

Jackfield is largely a generic name for a class of black/brown bodied earthenwares with a glossy ‘black’ glaze. I emphasise ‘black’ as close examination reveals it is actually made up of mostly dark brown tones, which combined with a dark-toned clay body appears black to the naked eye.

Jackfield Teapot
Jackfield Teapot c.1780

Traditionally this type of ware was said to be made at a pottery works located at Jackfield, near Coalport in Shropshire – which became the name for the type. But excavations and other evidence suggest that at the same time, such pieces were also made in Staffordshire and at other ceramic centres. The shapes and mouldings are often closely related to the other bodies detailed in this article, showing the black products were made alongside red wares , cream wares and salt glaze. Perhaps ‘black wares ‘ would be a more accurate name, but the ‘Jackfield’ name persists.

Decoration was hard, as the black surface didn’t allow for the usual decorative technique. Rare ‘cold-painted’ examples show that some were decorated in colourful oil paints, often with dedications and dates, painted onto a piece to order by a retailer, independent of the potteries.
Today, it is collected for the dramatic impact it makes in contrast to the usual white or off-white alternative wares.

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The Imari pattern

This week we are having a closer look at the highly popular Imari pattern.

The Imari pattern has a rich history steeped in Japanese culture and global trade.
Originating in the town of Arita on the island of Kyushu in the 17th century, Imari porcelain quickly gained popularity both domestically and internationally. Named after the port city of Imari, from where these exquisite wares were exported, the pattern typically features vibrant colours of underglaze cobalt blue, iron red, green, and gilt accents, often depicting asian motifs such as flower gardens, and landscapes. Initially, Imari porcelain was highly sought after by European aristocracy, sparking a craze known as “Imari-mania” in the West during the 17th and early 18th century. While China was a well-established trade route by this time, Japan was a little harder to access, and less Japanese Imari porcelain made its way to Europe. This scarcity led to it being priced at a premium, more expensive than Chinese equivalents, which were neither the same porcelain nor style.

When Japan closed it’s trading ports down, and almost all trade with foreigners was forbidden by Imperial edict in the early 18th century, the Europeans were devastated: they were Imari Addicts, and their source of Imari was suddenly taken away.

Enter the ever-opportunistic Chinese traders… mainland China quickly became Imari-experts, and mass production of Imai-style porcelain began in the first decades of the 18th century. By the mid-18th century, huge amounts of Imari ware was making its way by ship to England and the Continent. At the same time, the Europeans had also figured out the secret of making porcelain -and naturally, the first thing they replicated were the prestigeous and expensive Imari wares.
Japanese Imari is a beautiful product to collect, and is generally either the very early products, c. 1680-1720, with a large gap when production for export almost ceased, and then the re-opening of Japan in the mid-19th century. This sudden emergence of Japan in International Trade led to vast quantities of Imari porcelain once again finding its way to the West – and as the volume increased into the early 20th century, the price dropped. It’s still the same – early = expensive, later = less expensive.
Chinese products often appeal to a different collector, and are keenly sought after as well.

England rapidly became the largest producer of Imari wares in the early 19th century, where the richness of the tea wares perfectly matched the elegance of the Regency interiors. The Derby factory found a great demand for their particular take in Imari, for some reason later known as ‘witches pattern’. This classic English Imari continued to be made right through the 20th century, one of the true survivors in ceramic design.

Despite fluctuations in demand over the centuries, the allure of Imari porcelain endures, representing not only the exotic origin in Japanese ceramic artistry but also a testament to the enduring legacy of cross-cultural exchange and trade.

A pair of handsome baluster-vases & covers, painted with plump rabbits & with foo dog finials – late 17th century – at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong.
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English Enamels & Derby figures

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock release at Moorabool.

This week we have a fine selection of English Porcelain figures, and a collection of English Enamel patch & snuff boxes.

Enamel patch boxes and snuff boxes were everyday items for fashionable 18th century people of social status.

Patch-box with mirror in lid

Patchboxes, as their name suggests, were used to store ‘patches’ – literally small wax-based cosmetic ‘boils’ that were seen as essential beauty products in the 17th & 18th centuries. This ‘beauty spot’ fashion had a practical origin; the diseases of the era would often leave facial scars, and a patch could be used to fill the mark; however, it obviously became something more, with perfectly healthy un-diseased beauties feeling they had to add artificial patches to their faces!
The patchbox, with its compact size and elegant appearance, provided a convenient and stylish way to carry these essential fashion accessories on one’s person, ready to apply if needed. You can tell them by the mirror seen inside the lid – something seen into the modern era with the ‘powder-compact’.

Snuff boxes were used to store ‘snuff’ – essentially powdered tobacco, a popular stimulant in the 17th and 18th centuries. Snuff-taking was not only a social ritual but also a symbol of refinement and status. These boxes, often passed down as heirlooms, were prized possessions that reflected the taste and sophistication of their owners, making them cherished artifacts right to the present day.

Fresh to Stock – 18th century Enamel Boxes


One of these lovely enamel boxes isn’t what it seems: can you tell which?

SLIDE the line across to reveal the Sampson 19th century copy!

Derby Figures

Derby figures, originating from the renowned Derby Porcelain Factory founded by William Duesbury in 1756, represent a pinnacle of 18th-century ceramic artistry. These exquisite porcelain sculptures, often depicting scenes of pastoral life, classical mythology, or notable historical figures, are celebrated for their impeccable craftsmanship and artistic detail. From elegant ladies and gentlemen in period attire to elaborate animal and mythological motifs, Derby figures encompass a diverse range of subjects and styles, each meticulously sculpted and hand-painted with vibrant enamels. Reflecting the tastes of the aristocracy and burgeoning middle-class of Georgian England, these figures adorned the mantelpieces and tables of affluent households, serving as both decorative ornaments and symbols of status and refinement. Today, Derby figures remain highly sought-after by Collectors and Connoisseurs of Fine Things, cherished for their timeless beauty.

Fresh to Stock – Derby Figures – and more!

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Fresh Stock- Jewellery, Pottery & Porcelain, including Masons, Worcester, – a fine mix of quality items

Dr Wall Worcester at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Welcome to Moorabool’s latest Fresh Stock release – a fine selection of items, fresh to the market.
We’re also beginning to stock more jewellery, with an interesting selection of reasonably priced estate jewellery.

Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Mother’s Day is coming!

Why not spoil your mother with a lovely antique piece?
we’ve put together a gallery of ideas, have a browse here >

Fine 19th Century English Porcelain and more

The Worcester Factories

Worcester BLue & White Porcelain

In 1751, Dr Wall was one of the Worcester businessmen who funded the establishment of what was to become perhaps the most famous of all English porcelain manufacturers – the Worcester factory.

He held the reins of the firm for the next 25 years, and his business sense saw the firm becoming ‘the one’ that aristocracy & the wealthy of England turned to for their porcelain needs.

He died in 1776; in 1783 Thomas Flight, the London agent who had been marketing Worcester porcelain for a while, took over the factory; his two sons, Joseph and John managed it, known as the ‘Flight’ period.

John died in 1791, and a new partner came on board – Martin Barr. This is the ‘Flight & Barr’ period. In 1804, one of his sons is part of the firm, the name being ‘Barr Flight Barr’, the order of seniority. Then in 1813, Martin Barr died, and another of his sons joined, with Joseph Flight being the senior – hence the name is ‘Flight Barr Barr’.

Throughout these decades of the late 18th-early 19th century, across all the different partnerships, the same shapes and patterns were in use: it’s hard to separate the different periods visually. Luckily they were very good at marking pieces, and it’s an interesting exercise to find examples from each period.

These simple but elegant pieces were collected by someone keen to learn the chronology of the factory – basically, an example of the various partnerships of what was to become the major porcelain factory of the 19th century. They’re ready to serve the same purpose with a new owner – terrific ‘examples’ that are budget-friendly!

A Dr Wall Worcester rarity

This ‘Dalhousie pattern’ Worcester cup & saucer is a spectacular rarity, coming from a single identifiable service.

Worcester Stormont Service  cup & saucer
Worcester ‘Dalhousie’ type, ‘Stormont’ Service cup & saucer, c. 1780

The ‘Dalhousie’ pattern name comes from a service owned by the Earl of Dalhousie, with central landscape surrounded by blue border, and swags of fruit to the rim; however, there are multiple variations on this theme in the Worcester products, so the name ”Dalhousiue’ has come to refer to a style rather than a service.

This cup and saucer, however, does have an important association with another service: in the Zorensky Collection there is an identical coffee cup& saucer which Spiro & Sandon associate with the Lord Stormont service. 7th Viscount Stormont had been the Ambassador to France in the 1770’s, and this Worcester tea service from the 1780’s reflects this:

“….. the shape of the handle is unusual and the saucer has a well recessed slightly in the centre in which the foot of the cup sits, a feature derived from Sèvres. These features are unusual but occur on the Stormont service which was a special order involving many unusual tea ware forms.” 

A 'Sevres' handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup
A ‘Sevres’ handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup, Stormont Service c. 1780

The 7th Viscount Stormont also had a desert service made to Sèvres shapes, also represented in the Zorensky Collection. These Sèvres services are still at Scone house, ancient Royal seat of the Scottish Kings and home of the present Viscount. The Worcester ‘copies’ seem to have been dispersed at some time, and this rarity found its way to a collection in Melbourne, Australia.

Also ‘Fresh’…..

Coming Soon…..

Pottery coming soon
Some early English Pottery @ Moorabool Antiques
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Mother’s Day Gift ideas-

A small selection of Mother’s Day gift ideas for this up coming special day on 12th May 2024- still plenty of time to post !

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Fresh Stock – Torquay Art Pottery + more…

Toruquay Pottery Devon UK

Welcome to another Moorabool ‘Fresh Stock’.
This one features a collection of English ‘Art Pottery’ from the distinct Devon potters of Torquay. They’re always nicely made pieces, with a rich terracotta-toned body slipped in colours, often scratched-through or finely painted with stylish scenes, but most notable for their inscriptions. This gives rise to a popular nick-name, ‘Mottoware’.

We have some pretty fun ones, and they read like a scroll through some Instagram memes –

There would be no shadows
If the sun were not shining
Empty vessels make the most noise
Don’t worry, it may never happen
To Have a Friend is to Be One …

Some were souvenirs – for example, the mini teapot is inscribed ‘The Oldest Chemist Shoppe in England, Knaresborough Est. 1720 ‘.

Among them are two particularly interesting pieces. One commemorates the friendship between Britain and the USA; the other is commemorating the Boer War.

May They Ever Be United-USA UK Torquay Devon pottery mug
“May They Ever Be United” -unusual commemorative USA & UK Torquay (Devon) art pottery mug c. 1917

This commemorative is a bit of a mystery; the inscription ‘May They Ever Be United’ suggests an event, such as the ‘Great White Fleet’ of 1907-09, where the US sent a group of their battleships around the world on a publicity cruise – including to Australia, where many souvenirs of the event were made. However, they never visited Britain!

Instead, the mug could have been made circa 1917, when America entered WWI on the 6th April. A thankful Britain hosted American ships & troops on their way to the battlefields, and a souvenir like this would have been readily sold to the visitors. They seem to be very scarce.

Aller Vale Torquay Pottery Boer War commemorative Tommy Atkins mug
Rare Torquay pottery Boer War Commemorative ‘Tommy Atkins’ mug, by Aller Vale, c. 1900

This unusual piece was made to commemorate the Boer War. Marked ‘Aller Vale’, it was made at the Aller Vale pottery, Torquay.

The Torquay Potters

A quick history.

Torquay Pottery
Torquay Pottery vase, c. 1910. This is reminiscent of Dresser designs of the 1870’s.

The Devon potters of the Torquay region were active back into pre-history, with a bountiful supply of rich terracotta-toned clay to use. In the late 19th century, the ‘Arts & Crafts’ movement arose, and the region came to support a flourishing industry into the 20th century of Art Potters.

The present industry was started by a Mr Allen, who established the Watcombe Clay Company Ltd on the outskirts of Torquay in 1869, with Mr Charles Brock of Staffordshire as the manager. In 1901 it merged with the Torquay pottery firm of Aller Vale, but continued to make ‘Watcombe’ marked pieces.

The styles of the group of companies in the area are often very similar – they were tapping into the same market, and the Arts & Crafts tradition provided a wonderful stimulus for shapes & decoration. Dr Christopher Dresser was the origin of some incredibly ‘modern’ designs produced at the Watcombe Pottery in the 1870’s, and this simplicity and elegance can be seen in the products of the Torquay potteries for the next few decades.

Another line sometimes seen were terracotta plaques, complete with moulded frames, ready to hang on the wall. Some quite talented artists used these as their ‘canvas’, painting in oils.

An example we have sighted comes with an interesting provenance: it has theme of Beatrice Charlotte Henty (1867-1950) on the back, with her address at ‘Tarring’, Kew. She was the granddaughter of James Henty, who is regarded as the first of the settlers to arrive in what is now Victoria in the 1830’s. The painting, of a shipwreck with survivors struggling ashore, is very well painted, and as there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of Beatrice being such a competent artist, the inscription is probably one of ownership – in fact, pieces like this were brought out to the 1880 Exhibition in Melbourne, and continued to be available in the luxury stores of Melbourne in the late 19th century.

The Torquay Pottery Firms include:

The Torquay Pottery at Heel Cross, Devon, (known as Watcombe after the nearby Country House) commenced production in 1875, making terracotta vessels and plaques as seen above. It was after their merge with nearby Aller Vale that they began to make the ‘Motto Ware’, and used their ‘Royal Torquay Pottery’ mark from 1924.
The introduction of restrictions during WWII stressed the firm to the point of closure before the war finished, in the early 1940’s.

Aller Vale was one of the larger potteries in the Torquay group. Founded near Newton Abbot in 1881 by John Phillips, it was heavily influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, and absorbed the Watcombe and Longpark potteries in the early 20th century, before being absorbed in turn by the Watcombe Pottery.
It gained a ‘Royal’ addition to its name after visits and purchases of the wares by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, and Alexandra, wife of Edward VII.
Liberty’s of London stocked Aller Vale slipware decorated pieces.
It closed in 1932.

Barton Pottery was founded by four workmen from other Torquay potteries in 1922, and made a variety of ‘typical’ Torquay-style Motto Wares. By 1926 this partnership had broken up, and a Limited Company established – reflected in the mark. It closed in 1935.

Longpark Pottery was founded in 1883, but it was in 1903 when Aller Vale Pottery took them over that they began making the slip-decorated ‘Motto Ware’. As well as ‘LONNGPARK’, they used the name ‘TORMOHUN’. The firm was still running after WWII, but gradually declined, closing in 1957.

There are more firms not mentioned here, but this short list covers the examples you’ll find below. They’re a rather cheerful, even inspirational thing to collect – I mean the advice alone is worth it!

‘All that Glitters is not Gold’…..


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Minton rarities, Australian Pottery, American Ceramics – and more, Fresh to Stock

Welcome to an interesting Moorabool ‘Fresh Stock Release’.

Featured are a small collection of early Victorian ‘Staffordshire Cottages’ – pastille burners that were made as mini houses with working chimneys to allow the smoke out!

Minton Majolica 'Chinaman' teapot, bright majolica colours, 1874
Our latest character to arrive at Moorabool….

There’s a couple of rare British Pottery pieces, the most noticeable being the Minton Majolica ‘Chinaman’ teapot. This remarkable design is a ‘Minton Classic’, chosen in the 20th century as one of their reproduction lines – but ours is original, and very early: the design appears in the early 1870’s, and this example bears the date code for 1874.

He’s an interesting character, dressed in a magnificent flower-decorated pale blue coat and green pants incised with bamboo. His hair is in a thick platt, and loops around as the handle. He’s holding a mask, a ferocious dark character, from whose mouth protrudes the green-glaze spout. His head lifts off as the lid, and his hair is held up with a tall comb that acts as the knob – which brings to mind the possibility that this is in fact a woman!

The other notable item is a pair of ‘Moon Flasks’, the name & shape borrowed from the Chinese. These are painted with cherubs catching butterflies amongst apple blossom – so very Victorian!
They are signed by the artist, and this opens up an interesting background: two sisters, Eliza J. and Rosa J. Strutt, were employed at the London workshop known as ‘Minton’s Art Studio Pottery, South Kensington’. Minton had set this up in 1870 in South Kensington. These flasks are by Eliza J. Strutt.

Pair of Minton Art Studio Moonflasks, painted by Eliza J. Strutt, 1873

This fascinating Art Pottery studio actually owes its origins to the establishment of the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington. When this was being set up, the museum’s interior decorations were planned to include lavish tile panels, and Minton was commissioned to execute them. From this came the idea for a London based decorating studio; land was leased by Minton right next to the Royal Albert Hall – and they shared the smokestack used for their kilns with the heating apparatus for the hall!
The Minton Art Pottery Studio opened in 1871 with the great designer W.J. Coleman as the director. The blank pots were made at Minton, and decorated in the new studio by students from the Government’s ‘National Art Training Schools’. 3/4 of these were women, and a contemporary account stated ‘…it was worthy of notice as the only place in London devoted to the manufacture of high-class pottery’.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the complex in 1875 and it was never re-built.

An interesting Minton fact: there’s a change in the name/mark, illustrated perfectly in these two pieces: from 1873, the first mark ‘MINTON’ (as seen on the teapot) is changed to ‘MINTON’S’ (as seen on the vases).

MINTON MINTON'S marks, 1873 1874

British Pottery Rarities

Australian Pottery

Plus more!

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Fresh Stock – Australian Art, Indian Metalwares & Textiles, Studio Pottery, and more…

Welcome to our latest ‘Fresh Stock’ post.

It’s a great variety – Asian, Indian, and Australian!

We have a vast number of exciting English & Continental Ceramics coming in the next few weeks, for those who are looking for something a little ‘finer’ than today’s offerings….


Asian Items

Indian Items

The Dawn of Moorcroft…. a William Moorcroft teapot, Macintyre-made 1898

James Macintyre & Co employed the ceramic artist William Moorcroft in 1897, where he was responsible for the introduction of the slip-decorated designs they called ‘Aurelian Ware’. This was of course to blossom into the famous Moorcroft firm when William left Macintyre in 1913 and set up his own works, with the help of Liberty’s of London.

This piece bears the registration number 311,909.
The British Registration numbers for 1897 ended with 311,657;  the registration of this teapot design was the 252nd for 1898, indicating it was probably prepared in 1897, the first year of William Moorcroft’s employment at Macintyre’s works, and submitted early in 1898. Despite the damage to the spout, it is a desirable rarity illustrating the beginning of the epic Moorcroft art form that continues to this day!

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Fresh Stock – English Watercolours, Sterling Boxes, Corkscrews – and more….

Robert Hollands Walker (1852-1920)

Welcome to the latest Fresh Stock release on

This week, a wide variety of interesting items awaits.

There’s a fine selection of quality English watercolours, including a beautiful landscape by William B. Thomas, and a pair of enticing little gems with a pre-Raphaelite feel by the virtually unknown artist William Took.

English Watercolours

William Took Watercolours
William Took Watercolours

English Watercolours

FRESH to Stock