Carlton Ware World
Recent Articles - Sunday 16 April 2017

16 April 2017
Good Neighbours

The legacy of the Staffordshire Potteries, of which Carlton Ware is one, is extraordinary. Close to Carlton Ware's Copeland Street works was the former Minton Hollins Tile Works. The factory, in Shelton Old Road, was largely demolished in 1987 but the main building, facing the street still survives. It has been renovated and like the Carlton Works has a new use, in this case as offices.

Map showing proximity of Minton Hollins & Carlton Ware
Minton Hollins & Co. is well known for its encaustic or inlaid floor tiles used in many public buildings during the Victorian period.

The reason for this article is to let you know that this month it is possible to view the Minton Hollins tiled pavement at St George's Hall in Liverpool, which, from 1860 to the present day is usually covered over with timber to allow dancing and other events to take place. When it was laid it was the largest in the world. Below is a picture showing the scale and grandeur of the pavement.

St George's Hall Minton Hollins tilesd floor
It's well worth watching the video below in which enthusiastic historian Steve Binns, MBE talks about the tiles.

The Palace of Westminster, US Capitol, Victoria & Albert Museum and many other prestigious buildings used Minton Hollins & Co's. encaustic tiles.

In 1969, the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner expressed his opinion that St George's Hall is one of the finest neo-Grecian buildings in the world. Below is a photograph taken in 1904.

St George's Hall, Liverpool c.1904
Happy Easter.

12 March 2017
The Garniture & Carlton Ware

In the ceramics world, a garniture is a set of vases unified by their decoration. It is thought that the first sets were imported from China more than three centuries ago. A fine example from about 1750 is shown below.

Garniture of Chinese Export Porcelain
Chinese Export Porcelain, in the Famille Rose palette five piece garniture of vases & covers 1735 to 1760.

Garnitures were used for display above cupboards and chimney mantels. Below are two Victorian engravings illustrating their use.

Chimney pieces with garnitures

Many British potteries responded to the fashion set by the Chinese porcelains. In well-to-do homes, garnitures remained popular for many generations and even into the 20th century, as with the Carlton Ware five piece garniture below from about 1913.

Carlton Ware SEASONS pattern five piece garniture

Carlton Ware c.1913, all decorated in the SEASONS 596 pattern, arranged as a five piece garniture.

The SEASONS pattern on the Carlton Ware shown above, as well as their shapes, were introduced by Horace Wain shortly after he began working at Copeland Street around 1911. The newly ensconced decorating manager was an expert copyist and keen on 17th and 18th century Chinese shapes and decorations, as well as those employed at Worcester, Swansea and Lowestoft potteries from the same period.

The popularity of the garniture was so long lived because shapes and patterns of its constituents changed to suit the fashion of the time. Ceramics played an important part in the decoration of most people's homes.

Below are two more Carlton Ware garnitures, this time from the 1890s or early 1900s. The first is decorated in the Imari palette on typical late Victorian shapes with their twiddly bits.

Carlton Ware garniture from the 1890s in the Imari palette
Carlton Ware from the 1890s or early 1900s, all decorated with the Imari palette and arranged as a five piece garniture.

The second set is decorated in flow blue and with what was called raised gold, a technique similar to tubelining but much finer. Little has been written on this elaborate method of decoration, so I will do something on it later in the year.
Carlton Ware garniture from the 1890s in flow blue and raised gold
Carlton Ware from the 1890s or early 1900s, all decorated in flow blue with raised gold, arranged as a three piece garniture.

A temple to the garniture has to be at Charlottenberg Palace in Berlin, shown below.

Pity that it's not full of Carlton Ware!

Porcelain Room at Charlottenberg Palace
The Porcelain Room at Charlottenberg Palace in Berlin.

Garnitures vase sets from the National Trust
Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses

Currently, the Victoria & Albert Museum here in London, in collaboration with the National Trust, have a an exhibition of garnitures from National Trust properties.

"Surviving complete sets are exceedingly rare and this display brings together sets from 13 different National Trust houses."

If you have a garniture of two, three or more pieces, or an interesting chimney display, please post it on your Social Media platforms! #GarnituresVaseSets #whatsonmymantel ❑

© Harvey Pettit 2017

To comment, or suggest corrections, email me

3 February 2017
The Carlton Ware Bentley

Take a front seat and sink into the leather upholstery....

"Are you sitting comfortably?

Bentley Mark VI dashboard

Then I'll begin."


One of the advantages of running a website is that we are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. A website can also enable easy contact, as was the case when I received a query from Brian Plummer, who had just bought a Bentley Mark VI made in 1952. Mr. Plummer wrote to say that the car's first owner was a Mr. C. Wiltshaw of Carlton Ware and asked if we knew anything about him!

He had come to the right place. As many of you know, Cuthbert Wiltshaw owned and ran Carlton Ware between 1918 and his death in 1966. I replied with some details and asked Mr. Plummer to send pictures of the car, which he kindly did and so some are included in this article.

Cuthbert Wiltshaw's Bentley
Mrs Wiltshaw

A Brutal Murder

I was particularly interested in the car because its misuse might have led to the brutal murder of Alice Maud Mary Wiltshaw, Cuthbert's wife.

There is a detailed account of the terrible offence in Staffordshire Murders by Alan Hayhurst, which was first published in 2008.
Estoril House
The crime was committed on 16 July 1952 at 'Estoril', the Wiltshaw home in Barlaston, some six miles from Carlton Ware's Copeland Street works.

At Carlton Ware World's Annual Get-together in the Potteries in 2005, we visited the large house, which at that time was part of the Wedgwood Memorial College.

To the right of the substantial building is a separate motor house with accommodation above. This is not visible in the photograph shown here but is where Mr Plummer's Bentley car must have been kept, though not for long, as we will discover.

Of the crime, The News of the World ran the headline 'Most Vicious Murder of the Century'. So what has the car to do with the heinous crime?

It was the chauffeur what did it....

Leslie Green in Army uniform
And, as if in stereotypical crime fiction, a gloved hand and a poker were involved.
The killing of Mrs. Wiltshaw was far too horrifying to go into any detail.

Five months later, in December 1952, Leslie Green was found guilty of the murder. Green had been the Wiltshaws' chauffeur but had been dismissed for taking Cuthbert's car for his own use. Was this Mr. Plummer's Bentley? Did the sacking over its use lead indirectly to Mrs. Wiltshaw's murder? Mr. Plummer wanted to know more too. I had some checking to do....

Alan Hayhurst's book says that Green was sacked in May 1952, but most significantly the new owner of the car told me that the Bentley was first registered on 15 July 1952, one day before the murder. Clearly, it was not the car that Green had driven for Cuthbert Wiltshaw. I don't know if Mr. Plummer will be relieved or disappointed!
In any event, it makes an interesting story, though the brutality of the murder is most disturbing and must have been devastating for the Wiltshaw family.

Bentley Mark VI
Memories of a Mark VI

When, as a student in the 1970s, a flatmate bought a second hand Mark VI, I remember travelling in it to visit my parents. In those days, large old cars were inexpensive to buy and as engineers we were not too daunted if they went wrong. This one had a battery that kept going flat. Conveniently, my parents lived on a hill, the perfect place from which to start the car. A quick release of the handbrake and the heavy beast with its 4½ litre engine, once having gained sufficient speed, could be started off the clutch. I recall neighbours saying how silent the car was as it glided down the slope. "You couldn't even hear it starting up." they remarked. I didn't have the nerve to disillusion them.

Mr. Plummer's Bentley did not spend long at Barlaston, because shortly after the murder Hayhurst tells us that 'Estoril' was sold. In 2005, I stayed in the spacious Edwardian house to discover that it has a striking Art Deco bathroom with walls covered in eau-de-nil and black ceramic tiles with matching bath, washbasin and WC.

lightbulb idea

This is an opportune moment to look at other Carlton Ware cars, this time with a more pleasant narrative!

The Carlton Ware "Rolls Royce" teapot

PRESTIGE teapot for Carlton Ware
There was a large appetite for novelty teapots in the latter part of the twentieth century, which reached a peak in the 1990s. The craze was started in the 1970s by a coterie of young potters leaving Art College to set up on their own. A prime example is Roger Michel and Danka Napiorkowska and their Lustre Pottery, started in 1972. This led to a highly successful association with Carlton Ware, initially with Roger and Danka's Walking Ware tea sets, because their small pottery in Yorkshire could not produce sufficient quantities to supply demand.

There were many other innovative and freethinking potters and amongst them were Jenny & Geoff Morten. They were responsible for the PRESTIGE car radiator teapot shown here, which was clearly based on a Rolls Royce, though presumably altered to avoid any copyright infringement. I believe it was initially made at their studio in West Norwood, South London. Backstamps suggest that it was first produced there in 1978. As with Lustre Pottery's Walking Ware, it was subsequently made by Carlton Ware. The amusing teapot had a matching cream and sugar and was also available in white with silver lustre. All are shown in Carlton Ware sales literature of the 1980s, as were other J&G Morten designs.

Whilst researching for this article I discovered, sadly, that Geoff Morten died in 2009 in California, to where he and Jenny relocated in 2003. Jenny Morten now lives and works in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

The Carlton Heraldic China Motors

The first Carlton Ware models of motor cars related to the World War One, a Rolls Royce armoured car and an Anti-aircraft Motor. Two others were listed in a Carlton Heraldic China catalogue as a LAUNDAULETTE and a MOTOR CAR.
All are shown below.
Carlton Heraldic China motor cars

You can read about all Carlton China relating to the First World War by clicking here.

The Carlton Ware Bullnose Morris and MG No.1.

In Issue 3 of The Carlton Comet, which we published in 2005, Terry Wise wrote an article on two Carlton Waremodels of vintage cars.  These are shown below with variations, along with his introduction to the models, which tells you about them and when they were introduced.

Carlton Ware Bullnose Morris & MG

"Carlton Ware produced a wide range of advertising items for the brewing industry, most notably for Guinness. The motor industry also used the pottery as a means of promotion when two ceramic models of vintage cars were made. The first was a Bullnose Morris for the British Motor Corporation. This was introduced in the early 1960s and has shape number 2477 but was also made for British Leyland at a later date.

The other was a model of the first MG ever made, known as
MG No.1. The Carlton Ware replica, shape 3132, was commissioned by British Leyland in 1974 to celebrate 50 years of the MG marque.

Both models were mounted on a rectangular plinth printed with advertising logos and the name of the vehicle. The miniatures came in fancy presentation boxes in either cream or black, with gold hatching."

The End of the Line
Carlton Ware Mini car teapot

When John McCluskey bought the Carlton Ware trade name in 1989, a time which was close to the height of the novelty teapot craze, he introduced five models based on well-known cars from the 1950s and 60s. The first was based on the
Mini and is a good representation of the popular car. (If you read this, John, do get in touch and let me know of any errors - Harvey ).

The following four models were more cartoon-like, as you can see from the images below.

They were loosely based on the
MG Magnette, the Morris Minor, the VW Beetle and the Austin A35. The MG Magnette was used by the police as pursuit cars and featured in many films from the 1950s.

With all four models, Enid Blyton's Noddy's car springs to mind!
Carlton Ware car teapots
When John McCluskey sold the Carlton Ware trademark to Frank Salmon in 1997, Mr Salmon continued to market these car teapots, using various potteries to cast and decorate them. He offered the models in a wide range of decorations. To my eye, some of these later versions appear more crudely made and painted.

I understand that Mr. Salmon has ceased contracting out the making of pottery to be backstamped with the Carlton Ware trademark. If so, it is possible that the moulds for these teapots will be sold on and more will be made, though not necessarily with a legitimate Carlton Ware backstamp. This turn of events usually means a reduction in quality of manufacture.

Only with Carlton Ware can we go from a Bentley to Noddy's car - CW made something for everyone's pocket, from the sublime to the silly, the fabulous to the funny! ❑

© Harvey Pettit 2017

To comment or suggest corrections please email me
The End
Many thanks to Brian Plummer, Alan Hayhurst and Terry Wise, as well as Enid Blyton's illustrator Harmsen van der Beek.

30 October 2016
Autumnal Notes

Here at Carlton Towers, we are having a glorious Autumn so what better way can there be to mark this time of year than the wild blackberry and thus this article on Carlton Ware's BLACKBERRY range.
Blackberry banner
Carlton Ware's fruit and floral embossed ranges were extraordinarily popular. The pottery introduced new ranges on an annual basis throughout the 1930s and beyond. These attractive and skillfully modelled wares stem from the LETTUCE & TOMATO shapes devised by Enoch Boulton in the 1920s. They usually depended on a close collaboration between the designer and modeller.
BIF poster

During the later part of the 1930s, Cuthbert Wiltshaw engaged the services of a Frenchman to design new shapes for the pottery and who was responsible for this range. Designers Violet Elmer and Betty Wiltshaw remember him visiting the works but could not recall his name, so the moniker, "The Frenchman", as adopted by those at Copeland Street, stands until he is identified.

Ronald Hopkinson modelled the
BLACKBERRY range, working from "The Frenchman's" drawings - they did not meet. Much is clearly influenced by the style we now call Art Deco, as the asymmetric and geometric shapes testify. No doubt, since France is regarded as the mainspring of the style, "The Frenchman" will have been more than familiar with its forms.

Carlton Ware introduced BLACKBERRY at the British Industries Fair at Olympia in London in February 1938. The BIFs were important showcases for the pottery and glass industries. They were patronised by the Royal family and indeed, in 1938, Queen Mary bought examples of BUTTERCUP , another Carlton Ware floral embossed range. A Royal purchase usually led to increased sales.
Below is an infographic showing a selection of BLACKBERRY. Aficionados will know that Carlton Ware cleverly used the same shapes for the pottery's RASPBERRY range, which had a pink ground and raspberry coloured fruits.

Carlton Ware BLACBERRY range infographic

Big Blackberry

With typical Carlton Ware humour the fruit was also turned into a preserve pot, first by Enoch Boulton in 1928 and much later, in 1972, during the Woods' period.
Best Blackberry

Blackberries were also given the Best Ware treatment. Below is vase shape S406 with the BLOSSOM & SPRAY 3968 pattern, which was introduced at a similar time to the BLACKBERRY range. The decoration is on-glaze with large areas of raised enamel decorating the flowers and fruits. The jug shown is decorated with SPIDER'S WEB 4316, one of Carlton Ware's most popular on-glaze patterns, which was available in many different colours, here in the pink. Both patterns were designed by Rene Pemberton.
Blush Blackberry

In the 1890s, the bramble was used on Carlton Ware's Blushware range as a freehand-painted decoration outlined in raised gold, a technique similar to tubelining but much more finely done. Below is a pair of vases in a decoration called Bramble & Spider alongside a detail from the pattern illustrating the fine raised gold.

Bramble & Spider vases
Anyone for some blackberry and apple crumble, served up in a BLACKBERRY dessert bowl?  ❑

© Harvey Pettit 2016.

1 August 2016
Putting on the Fitz

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Carlton Ware exhibits at the Fitxwilliam Museum
Fitzwilliam Museum

Some of Violet Elmer's designs for Carlton Ware are now on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, which is home to one of the most important UK collections of European, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern ceramics.

Barry and Elaine Girling, authors of Cast Aside the Shadows, which focuses on Miss Elmer's life and designs, approached the prestigious Museum last year. They suggested that the designer's work was more than worthy of a place in the collection.

A meeting was arranged to meet the curators. Barry and Elaine took along five examples of Best Ware, all of which impressed the museum's representatives. Three were eventually chosen to be shown in a cabinet in the Glaisher Gallery. As you can see on the middle shelf in the picture on the right, they are a
Scimitar vase, shape 456, a Floral Comet plaque and a BELL vase, shape 777.

Continental Company

Miss Elmer's patterns are in good company. On the shelf above is a display of Dutch ceramics by Brantjes & Co made around 1900. On the shelf below are figures of animals by the Dutch potteries of Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl and French ceramicists Alexandre Bigot and Pierre Roche. The charger was made by the German pottery of Mettlach.

You can read more on Barry & Elaine's website.

The Fitzwilliam Museum celebrates its 200th birthday this year. One of the special exhibitions arranged for the event is called Colour, something which Carlton Ware knew all about. Subtitled The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, the exhibits show how the use of gold added to the beauty of a design - just like Carlton Ware's gold printing!
Cambridge is a beautiful city; it's well worth visiting because there is so much to see and do there.
Entry to the Museum is free and is within walking distance of the railway station. If driving use the Park & Ride service. After visiting the Museum, walk further up Trumpington Street to Kings College.  We didn't tell the curators that Miss Elmer was born in Oxford!  © Harvey Pettit 2016.

Many thanks to Dr Julia Poole, Former Keeper of Applied Arts and Helen Richie, Research Assistant, Dept. of Applied Arts for the time and welcome they gave us, during our visit to the 'Fitz'.

17 April 2016
Former Employees meet at Etruria Hall

No, our website has not been hijacked!

Yesterday, a new exhibition opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London called
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear and it has stimulated this article!

The picture above is from the exhibition and is an advert for Agent Provocateur, a British lingerie retailer.

And so to Carlton Ware

The enormous success of Walking Ware, by Roger Michell and Danka Napiorkowska, first made in 1973 at their Yorkshire based Lustre Pottery, and then at Copeland Street from 1976, led Carlton Ware to introduce more and more quirky and amusing ranges.

The 1970s were an innovative time for British ceramics and because of the association with Lustre Pottery Carlton Ware was at the front of the field.

Owner Anthony Wood gave Pam Souch, resident designer at Copeland Street during this time, much more latitude than allowed to previous designers. Pam had original and imaginative ideas and many went into production including the items below.

Carlton Ware Undressed

Tastefully, in a state of undress, the three shapes below were produced in the early 1980s and modelled by John Tyler.

These shapes must have been based on Marilyn Monroe. (Pam, we would love to hear from you - it's been a long time since we met at Copeland Street - Harvey.)

Carlton Ware Underwear

Two mugs were introduced at the same time as the LADY bookends, LADY mirror and LEGS toastrack. These were the CORSET mug, shape 3386 and the CAN-CAN mug, shape 3394.

Shown here decorated in blue, they were also available in pink.
In the interest of balance, we end this article with a picture from the exhibition showing men's undergarments. ❑

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London until 12 March 2017.
Look out for the display from the
House of Harlot! The 't' is definitely not silent.

© Harvey Pettit 2016

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