Archives for June 2010

Hampshire Pottery

Hamp1 It’s been said Hampshire Pottery is similar to Grueby Pottery in many ways; in fact, many say they’re imitations of Grueby.  Even the company itself said it was replicating Grueby’s efforts in a way to provide similar art pottery at lower prices.  Perhaps the one major difference in the Hampshire pottery pieces is the fact each was molded, versus the hand throwing techniques of the Grueby Pottery efforts.  Still, many experts insist there is enough that separates the two American art pottery wares that most people, certainly in contemporary day, can easily differentiate the two.  Indeed, Hampshire Pottery had some beautiful creations that weren’t inspired (or copied, as some insist) by Grueby.  We tend to agree.  So individual they were that many are bringing in impressive sums of money today. 

The original mill that was purchased by James Taft and his uncle in 1871 burned to the ground.  The duo wasted no time in rebuilding the warehouse and within a year, were up and running with their efforts of creating  flower pots and “redware”.  All the while, they were also creating stoneware.  Ten years later, the company decided to enter into the art pottery sector.  It quickly became a family endeavor, as another brother in law was brought on board as a chemist who was responsible for creating more than 900 glaze “recipes” for use in the making of Hampshire Pottery.

A die stamp that reads “Hampshire Pottery” with a circled “M” can be found on nearly every Hampshire piece and the majority of these pieces are covered in a matte green glaze.  The majority Hamp of Hampshire Pottery can be found as vases, mugs, lamp bases and bowls.

After a few family deaths, ironically, the company was sold out to Grueby Pottery.  Grueby Pottery eventually closed the plant in 1923.  We’re left with some truly beautiful wares, courtesy of Hampshire Pottery and its successful bids of creating American art pottery.