Blue Staffordshire Pottery Plate

by Dr. Lori Verderame

If you have heard of Staffordshire pottery, you probably know that the term is an all-encompassing one. Although you might find the name on pottery marks when trying to identify Staffordshire pottery, the term Staffordshire references the famous 18th and 19th Century ceramics produced in central England. There is not just one Staffordshire factory that made ceramic pieces called Staffordshire pottery but in fact there were many manufacturers working in the region of Staffordshire producing high quality ceramic wares. Some of the best known firms characterized under the name of Staffordshire included Enoch Wood & Sons, James and Ralph Clews, Thomas Whieldon, Josiah Wedgwood, Josiah Spode, Ralph Wood, Minton, Aynsley, Doulton, etc.

Wedgwood pottery in Staffordshire

For instance, the Staffordshire based firm of Wedgwood created creamware, terracotta Etruscan wares, pearlware, Jasperware stoneware with metal oxides, unglazed black stoneware also known as basalts. Many different pottery makers contributed new and innovative ceramic methods which made Staffordshire a household name.

Why Staffordshire, England area?

Staffordshire platter

The Staffordshire area was known for its clay, lead, salt; all necessary for the production of quality pottery and vital to establishing pottery factories. Learn how to identify Staffordshire pottery and you’ll understand high quality clay. The pottery industry put towns such as Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton, Stoke, and Tunstall on the map–covering roughly 100 miles of this part of England. The geography of the area of Staffordshire in central England made it a fine spot for the production of slipware and other lead-glazed ceramic earthenware. The thick layers of clay needed to make earthenware and slipware was readily available in this part of England. In the 1700s, the clay that a potter needed was so easy to find that they would simply dig it up from a nearby roadway leaving a hole and coining the term “pot hole.”

Request an online appraisal of your Staffordshire pottery from Dr. Lori.