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Factory Marks Decorators Marks Shape Numbers





Identifying and Dating  Poole Pottery


Traditional                  Delphis              Look-a-likies


Poole Pottery is generally well marked and I've only ever seen one pot which looked like Poole but didn't carry a factory mark on the base (although this can be obscured sometimes, particularly with Aegean ware which sometimes has dark glazed bases).  Beside the factory stamp, the other marks to look out for are the pattern code, usually two letters (but sometimes one or three); the shape number, either inscribed, impressed or printed; and the decorators mark, sometimes initials but just as often a symbol. For example, the three pots below can be identified from their bases as WK pattern, shape number is unclear but its 288, painted by # (Winifred Rose), V pattern, shape 354, with decorator o (Myrtle Bond), and E (for elaborate) CS pattern, shape 287, painted by A (Betty Gooby).  As one off pieces Delphis pottery doesn't have a pattern code, only shape numbers and  decorators marks.


Poole Pottery can be dated by looking both at the factory mark at the base, as this changed over time, as well as looking at the monogram used by the individual decorator, for whom there are records of when they worked at the factory.  Before looking at either of these however there are other clues that can be used to date Poole Pottery. 




The colour of the earthenware clay, or body, of the earlier traditional pots is one indicator of age. 


WK pattern painted by Winifred Rose

Pots made from Red (terracotta coloured) earthenware were made prior to 1934.


V pattern painted by Myrtle Bond

In 1934 the factory started using a white earthenware for all its production.  However between 1934 and 1937 the white clay was coloured red or pink by use of a pink slip applied to the base.  Where this was done the white clay can still be seen showing through were the shape number was inscribed into the base.


CS pattern painted by Betty Gooby

After 1937 the bases were left white although interiors of vases and bowls continued to be coloured pink.  In 1946 shape numbers were generally no longer inscribed and a shape number stamped on the base.




With Delphis ware, the earlier pieces (pre-1971), display a wider range and more experimental use of glazes, in 1971 the number of glazes used was reduced, by and large, to just four (red, orange yellow, green).


Shape no. 81 painted by Jean Millership pre 1966-69    Shape no. 81 painted by Wendy Smith 1976

Shape no. 81 painted by Jean Millership 1966-69      Shape no. 81 painted by Wendy Smith 1976


The earlier round pin dishes (no. 49) and plates No.3 seem to have smaller but deeper foot rims and in the last few years the foot rims on the pin dishes  disappeared completely.

Carolyn Bartlett 1966                                           Ros Sommerfelt 1970-71                                             Wendy Smith 1976




















As mentioned above Poole invariably carries at least a factory mark and this will always be the surest way to identify a pot. There are bound to be similarities in looks with other factories though if only because they were all following/creating the fashion and look of the times.

Honiton comes from a similar part of the world to Poole, well Devon at least, and has a similar look.  It's also quite often unmarked and is made in both red and white earthenware. The jam pot below (Jacobean Scroll pattern) has quite Poole-like, cogwheel markings around the rim.

Honiton Jacobean Scroll jam pot and lid

I wish this next one was made by Poole Pottery.  The radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, an icon of 1950's space exploration and science, would have made a perfect subject alongside the modern cathedrals and other souvenir plates that Poole produced.  As it is this plate is made by "Guild Crafts (Poole) Ltd.", a company that I think traded in Torquay until 1987, and who's plates come up fairly regularly on the Poole Pottery listing on ebay.

Guild Crafts (Poole) Ltd. Jodrell Bank dish

This is a George Clews, Chameleon Ware, plate made at Tunstall Pottery (Stoke-on-Trent).  Just like Poole, Chameleon Ware art pottery flourished during the interwar years. 



















  Factory Marks        Decorators Marks       Shape Numbers




Started December 2008                                                                                                                                                            Last updated: 27/05/2018