Beswick Pottery (Shire Library)
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Beswick is typical of the numerous small scale ceramic factories founded towards the end of the Victorian era and manufacturing through the first two thirds of the 20th century. Like many of these companies Beswick produced a mix of tableware and sculptural ceramics adjusting its designs to take account of the trends of each decade. However the company is atypical by the very fact of its survival - in spite of the many upheavals which have transformed the ceramic industry during the latter part of the 20th century. Its story is one of evolution from a traditional Victorian Pottery to a 21st century brand.
Founded in 1894 by James Wright Beswick, Beswick passed through three generations of family ownership before becoming part of Royal Doulton in 1969 and is now independently owned. As owners and collectors of its products will testify, Beswick aimed, and still aims today, to produce well made ceramics at affordable prices; wares which could be used daily in the home as well as decorative ornaments for animal lovers of all ages to cherish. In this volume Val Baynton explores the diversity of products revealing that far more than horses - for which Beswick was so justifiably famous - were made. Wares are placed in context with the company history and information on important sculptors and designers is also included.
finish, part of the Britannia Collection, was made from 1989 to 1993. During the mid-1980s and early 1990s a small selection of animals and character studies including Beatrix Potter and Thelwell pieces were made from a resin body. These were not popular and production quickly ended. Part of the former Beswick museum in 1987. The museum closed in 2002 and many of the pieces were sold at auction at Bonhams, London and Louis Taylor, Hanley in 2003. From 1989 some Beswick products were rebranded
in an effort to gain greater international sales. Beatrix Potter characters were issued with a Royal Albert backstamp until 1998, when they reverted to the Beswick brand. Within this period, studies issued to celebrate anniversaries, such as the centenary of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, had Beswick backstamps. Additionally many animals and birds were transferred to a Royal Doulton backstamp. In 1999 animal models remaining in production, together with any new designs, were moved back to a Beswick
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popular, as was another design combining an all-over floral ‘chintz’ style pattern on a filigree background. By late 1930 Beswick was firmly set on a new direction, as evidenced by the introduction of the bold Beswick Ware advertisement, the first time the name ‘Beswick Ware’ had been used, and the closure of the works in Chadwick Street, where Warwick China was made. Older-style decorations such as the black-grounded wares, imposing vases decorated in mazarine blue and gold, and even the
Street. Melbourne’s stylised cats, bison, birds and other animals, as well as vases, were decorated with abstract motifs and unusual colours such as red, grey and yellow. The series was praised by the March issue of Design, the magazine of the Design Council, in 1957 for its quality and standard of design. But the collection did not sell well and it was retired by the end of the 1960s. One of the reasons for Beswick’s success was that less popular items were ruthlessly discontinued; otherwise,