Vintage Moorcroft: How Old Is It?
How can you tell how old a piece of Moorcroft is? Many collectors will have a good idea of the age just by looking at a piece. The most reliable method of dating is probably by looking at the factory marks, labels and signatures present on most pieces.
Moorcroft pottery has been in production for over 100 years and a wide variety of marks were used in that time. William Moorcroft started working for James Macintyre in 1897; he was responsible for a range of designs under the Macintyre name until he left in 1913 to set up a pottery studio in his own name.
His son Walter joined him in 1935 and started creating his own designs under the Moorcroft name. William died in 1945 aged 73, leaving Walter in control until 1984. Walter died in 2002 aged 85.
With this information in mind we can safely say that
- a Moorcroft piece that is pre-1935 was made by William
- a piece made between 1935 and 1945 could be by William or Walter, and
- pieces made between 1945 and 1984 were the work of Walter
Most of the so-called vintage Moorcroft we see on eBay can actually be attributed to Walter Moorcroft. Examples of William’s work are rarer and more sought after, and therefore usually more valuable.
Typical examples of Walter Moorcroft designs that we see a lot of on eBay are, Hibiscus, Anemone, Magnolia, Lilies and Columbine, and although designed by William, most examples of the Clematis and Orchid design can also be attributed to Walter.
Anyway as I was saying before, the most reliable method of dating Moorcroft is by the back stamps, factory impressed marks and the paper labels if they are still there. Although many of the labels have been lost or taken off through the years, you do still see them now and again.
Marks and Stamps: Examples over the Years
Here are a few examples of the various markings and labels that have been used on Moorcroft pottery between 1898 and 1984.
‘Florian Ware’ (1898 - 1905)
Use of the printed Florian Ware mark ended in 1905. It was replaced by the Macintyre monogram, and examples of Florian Ware were produced up to about 1914.
'Macintyre Moorcroft' (1904-1913)
Most of the pottery produced during this time had the Macintyre monogram; some were signed, but not all.
‘MOORCROFT BURSLEM’ (1914 - 1916)
Moorcroft started using his own impressed marks in 1914. ‘MOORCROFT BURSLEM’ was used between 1914 and 1916.
‘MOORCROFT BURSLEM ENGLAND’ (1916 - 1918)
The word ‘ENGLAND’ was added in 1916 to comply with international regulations.
'MOORCROFT MADE IN ENGLAND' (1918 - 1928)
In 1918 the word 'BURSLEM' was dropped, and 'MADE IN ENGLAND' was added to comply with U.S. import regulations.
Paper Label (1928 - 1936)
Label inscription is 'Potter to H.M. The Queen'. From 1936-1953 the paper label read, ‘Potter to H.M. Queen Mary’.
Early Facsimile Signature (1928 - 1945)
(Base of flambe 'Leaf and Berries' vase; photo by kind permission of S. Brune, Houston, Texas)
Impressed beneath the signature is 'POTTER TO H.M. THE QUEEN'. It's worth noting that there were two versions of the facsimile signature used; the second is shown in the picture below.
Late Facsimile Signature (1945 - 1949)
The use of the impressed facsimile signature ceased in 1949.
Paper Label (1953 - 1978)
Inscription is 'Potters To The Late Queen Mary'.
'MOORCROFT MADE IN ENGLAND' (1949 - 1986)
With Walter's initials. Pay attention to the difference.
This guide is not offered as a definitive reference; its purpose is to provide the facts in a concise format. It will be updated over time as new ideas and images become available. I hope it has answered some of the questions in your mind.
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My gratitude goes to any and all contributors who provide photographic images of provenance. If you have superior images to offer that would enhance this guide so that it can better help those who visit, then credit for your contribution is assured. Thanks for dropping by.