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British Industrial History

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Linthorpe Art Pottery

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of Linthorpe Village, Middlesbrough, Teesside

Landowner John Harrison met Dr. Christopher Dresser, an orientalist, architect and peripatetic lecturer, and one of the foremost influences in introducing oriental design into English fabrics, wall hangings, silver, glass and ceramics. Dresser hoped to produce pottery of a sort not previously attempted in England or Europe and at the same time alleviate some of Middlesbrough’s unemployment.

1879 As a result of this meeting a pottery was established on the site once occupied by the Sun Brick Works. The first firing was overseen by the kiln-manager at the then established Stockton Pottery. A thrower was engaged from Isaac Wilson’s Pottery in Middlesbrough. The results were good prompting John Harrison to enlarge his production and start building a pottery factory with the necessary kilns.

Dresser acted as art superintendent for the first two to three years of the Pottery’s existence. Several skilled men and women came from the Staffordshire potteries to work at Linthorpe and 14 artists arrived from Kensington, London. Lucy Worth, an artist from Manchester, took charge of the ladies’ painting room.

From its beginning Linthorpe Ware was greatly admired and received encouraging support from the critics. This motivated John Harrison at Dr. Dresser’s behest to issue a prospectus which indicated that the Pottery would increase its sphere of creativity.

Exhibitions of Linthorpe Ware were held regularly in London

1882 samples of the pottery were displayed at the Society of Arts Exhibition of Modern Pottery.

Late 1880s: the Linthorpe Pottery was beset with difficulties. The price of white earthenware clay rose and the market was becoming saturated with products similar in style and colour, but lacking in finish although cheaper.

1889 John Harrison became bankrupt due to the collapse of the Onward Building Society. The pottery closed.

1890 The pottery briefly re-opened but soon closed again.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Linthorpe Pottery. An Interim Report [1]