Bilston and Bradley Potteries
Frank Sharmanpage 4
The 1870s onwards: the coming of art pottery
Leaving the Prince of Potters and continuing the trawl through the trade directories: Kelly’s Directory, 1876, Bradley commercial section, has:
Myatt John & Sons, potters
and no other reference to potters, either in Bradley or Bilston.
There is now something of a gap in the directories but there are interesting entries in the "Official Catalogue of the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Fine Arts and Industrial Exhibition 1884". This large exhibition, which was held in the new Art Gallery and in temporary buildings erected on the market patch, attracted exhibitors from many parts of the country. In the Industrial Section we find Wedgwood, Minton and other famous potteries. We also find
It seems, from this information and the OS map shown above, that Myatt moved from Bradley and set up the pottery in Mount Pleasant in or before 1875. Whether or not they still had the works at Bradley is open to speculation. It seems odd that Meanley's address is given as Mount Pleasant and Myatt's is not. Again one can but speculate that either they were sharing the premises or that one was in the works directly on Mount Pleasant and the other was in the works behind the Theatre Royal.
The directories start again at a time which seems to have significance in the history of potteries in Bilston and Bradley.
In Hulley's Directory, 1889-90, under earthenware manufacturers, we have:
Myatt Pottery Co (fine art) Mount
This suggests that Myatts havesole use of the pottery in Mount Pleasant (perhaps keeping the Proud's Lane pottery) and have disposed of the Bradley pottery to Turner. James Meanley is not heard of again.
Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire, 1892, p.40 has
Turner, Alexander and Son,
earthenware and stoneware manufacturer
Lawely's account (see above) fits in here, it having been published in 1893. The best guess is that when he refers to the pottery as being relatively new he is referring to its being established sometime in or before 1885. It may be that the Thorneycrofts owned that pottery or it may be that they acquired it from Meanley later and installed Myatt to run it; but Lawley's text hints at the Thorneycrofts taking up ownership of the pottery after Myatt had moved there.
In any event, when Myatt moved to Mount Pleasant he seems to have set out in a new direction with his pottery. Not only are the words "fine art" put into the directory entry but Lawley's account emphasises that "a superior class of articles" was made there (whilst, presumably, Turner at the Bradley Pottery continued with more utilitarian and prosaic items).
Further the identified pieces of Myatt pottery include pieces which are of a very different design and which can certainly be seen as more of an attempt at well designed, modern, studio pieces than the others. This would mean that such pieces date from around 1890 onwards, though it is possible that they go back to 1884 and fall under the rather prosaic description "vases in various colours and patterns". There are hints in some of the vases of a Dresser influence.
One of the cache pots has, very clearly incised on the base, the words "Myatt" and "Karl Iser". Another cache pot is also incised with the word "Myatt" and with what may be "B. Iser". One supposes that Karl Iser was working at the pottery in some capacity but nothing is known about him. The name might be German (or even Romanian).click here to go to the next page