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Graham Oliver

Article first published in the Northern Ceramic Newsletter, issue 148, December 2007.






























Articles by Graham Oliver

A connection between the Hawley and
Don Potteries

Archaeological Ceramicist C.G. Cumberpatch of Sheffield University whom I met on the Denaby Pottery excavation contacted me recently.
He asked if I could identify sherds with printed transfer designs from excavations on the site of the Top Pottery at Rawmarsh, South Yorkshire.
The Top Pottery was situated on the east side of Rawmarsh and was founded by William Hawley in 1795 and traded as Hawley and Co.
On his death in 1818 Dame Hawley, his widow, ran the pottery assisted by her sons. One of whom, George, was an earthenware printer and when George took over the Rawmarsh Low Pottery in 1844, his brother, Abraham, took over and ran the Top Pottery until its closure in 1858.
Amongst the sherds were a number of unglazed examples with the panelled border found on the Don Pottery Italian Landscape Scenes series [fig 1].
In the NCS Newsletter no 145, page 30, Dr Alwyn Cox mentions that the sale details of the contents of the Don Pottery on 9th January 1835 included engraved copper plates. He also writes that no details of the purchasers of the sale items survive. It is only the marked TWIGGS or TWIGG NEWHILL items with this pattern that indicate Joseph Twigg and Sons bought stock at this sale.
During a trip to Newark Antiques Fair, John McNamara bought a Don 'Italian' type plate that consisted of a scene with two men talking, one seated in the foreground, a lake with a small sailing boat and a large mansion / castle on the banks of the lake. The plate was described as Don but the dealer considered that it was most likely Twiggs as it was very heavily potted in earthenware.
In my collection I have, in pearlware, a plate with the same pattern impressed DON POTTERY and also printed GREEN DON POTTERY with a lion. The Don plate is on the left of figure 2. The centre print on both plates is the same size although the Don plate is just nine and three quarter inches in diameter whilst the unmarked earthenware version is ten and a half inches.

The Don plate weighs 330 grams and the earthenware version is nearly double at 620 grams and is much thicker [figure 3]. The reverse of plates [figure 4] shows the style of the earthenware plate on the right with the three sets of prominent stilt marks. This is in contrast to the earlier and much neater Don version.

The evidence suggests that the Hawleys may have attended the sale of the Don Pottery stock disposal in 1835, as it was only 3 miles away, and purchased some of the copper plates for the Italian Landscape Scenes (panelled border) series. The plate illustrated is much inferior to Don and early Twiggs' versions in the quality of potting but also note the poor border join at 4 o'clock of the right hand plate in figure 2. As such, I consider that this is probably a Hawley's product. This example of three different potteries using copper plates from one series shows that attribution on unmarked items can be fraught with potential error.

I wish to thank John McNamara for permission to illustrate the unmarked plate in figures 2, 3 and 4, and Chris Cumberpatch for the photograph of the sherd.

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 Last updated: January 1 2007