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Pilkington vase

earthenware vase with a glaze

This earthenware vase was made around 1906 by Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Co, Lancashire. This particular pot has a form of decoration known as ‘fiery crystalline’ or ‘sunstone’ because of the sparkling golden colour produced by a scattering of metallic crystals in the glaze. When illuminated the crystals look like a mineral known as sunstone – a variety of aventurine. This type of glaze was also produced in other colours.

The pot was made by Pilkington’s at their factory at Clifton Junction near Manchester. The firm was established in 1891 with Laurence Pilkington on the board of directors and managed by William Burton, a chemist, formerly from Josiah Wedgwood and Sons. The firm began by making tiles and then went on to make pots. The Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Company continued in production making different types of wares until their closure in 1957.

Pilkington’s did not make for the commercial end of the market but concentrated on experimenting with shapes and glazes to make ‘Art Pottery’. The term Art Pottery is used to describe those wares produced from about the 1870s to 1930s that were made in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement. The movement was inspired by the work and views of the designer William Morris and the art critic and writer John Ruskin. Their followers, who were potters, saw themselves as artists using the unpredictable effects of the kiln to create individual works of art.