Commemorative Torquay Aller Vale mug, ‘May they ever be united’, USA & UK, c.


Rare Torquay Aller Vale Pottery commemorative mug, decorated in coloured slip with an American / English friendship motif, the front with crossed USA & UK flags above two shaking hands, the title above reading ‘May they ever be united’, a blue ribbon flourish framing, with blue line rims.

Impressed ‘ALLER VALE’ and shape no. 1270,
Aller Vale Pottery, Torquay

Circa 1917

12.5cm high


Aller Vale (active 1881-1932) was an ‘Art Pottery’ firm started by John Phillips, making pieces in the ancient traditions demanded by the Arts & Crafts movement of the later 19th & early 20th century. Phillips was the son of a clay merchant, and became influenced by William Morris’s writings regarding the loss of the ancient craftsman, and involved in the effort to keep the traditional English slipware technique alive. He was one of many potters in the Torquay – South Devon region to do so, and in particular make often humorous ‘motto ware’ products to sell to visitors. Collectively, they are known as ‘Torquay Ware’ (although confusingly, there is an actual ‘Torquay Pottery’ which made such items themselves!).

Aller Vale was popular in the Arts & Crafts world, and 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. Liberties of London stocked Aller Vale slipware decorated pieces.

This rare commemorative piece promotes friendship between America and England, borrowing the quote ‘May they ever be united’ from the French & English alliance during the Crimean War of the mid-19th century.

In this case, it is a visual depiction of what came to be called ‘The Great Rapprochement’ – the gradual friendship between Britain and America that emerged in the late 19th century, becoming essential for victory in the years of WW1.

We suggest a date of 1917 for this piece, 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.




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