Antiques Column with Michael Dowse
As an auctioneer and valuer who is the son of an auctioneer and valuer I have some first hand knowledge on father and son working relationships and William and Walter Moorcroft were a very successful father and son.
Born in 1873, William first showed his abilities as a truly innovative designer and artist while working for James Macintyre & Co from 1897. During his time with the company, he produced the famous Art Nouveau-inspired Florian Ware. While Moorcroft was producing designs for Macintyre they were actually all credited and signed personally by him helping him establish a name and reputation before eventually splitting from Macintyre and setting up on his own in 1913.
William continued to produce ceramics of great quality and design using new techniques such as tube-lining and difficult ones like the flambé glaze to mark his pieces out as exceptional, until his death in 1945. He produced many patterns and designs some of the most desirable being Hazledene with its combination of green, yellow or blue tones, Spanish with its dramatic scrolling flowers and deep red and green pallet and Moonlit Blue with its striking cobalt blue ground.
The early designs are very popular with collectors especially the toadstools of the Claremont pattern as well as the early Poppy and Iris designs.
Walter Moorcroft, William’s son, took over after his death and continued to produce work of high standard, particularly new floral designs including Hibiscus, Magnolia and Lily.
However, the most sought after Moorcroft pieces remain those produced pre-1945 by William himself. It is important to note that William Moorcroft signed or monogrammed all his pieces, while his son, Walter, only did so with those over 13cm (5in) in height.