THE HARTROX COLLECTION

A CELEBRATION OF 1950s STONEWARE FROM CASTLEFORD

GALLERIES: Quick references and indexes to selected items in the collection - click HERE  

TO GO TO MAIN MENU (including index to artists designs & marks and index to back stamps) CLICK HERE

CONTACT: TO DISCUSS ANY ASPECT OF HARTROX POTTERY (We do not give valuations) OR THIS WEBSITE SEND AN E-MAIL TO: thecollector@hartrox.co .uk

A BRIEF HISTORY

Hartleys (Castleford) Ltd,based at the Phillips Pottery in Castleford, West Yorkshire, and its antecedents had a long history going back to the 1700s. They were predominantly brick manufacturers but also produced traditional kitchenware, some under the Hartrox name. Changing tastes in the 1950s and the pressure of competition from foreign producers forced the company to diversify. In 1953, under the Hartrox brand, they introduced a range of colourful, hand painted "art" products in an attempt to improve the fortunes of the company. However, in the long term, this project was not successful and the company closed in 1960. (For a detailed account read David Wilder's book referenced below).



The picture shows part of Castleford in 1926 with Hartleys base at the Phillips Pottery outlined in black in the bottom right hand corner

GENERIC RANGES AND INDIVIDUAL POTTERY
During the seven years of production a number of generic ranges were introduced (eg the early Peasant Pattern and the 1955 abstract and floral ranges) in which individual pieces followed a specific pattern differing only in the detail inherent in hand painted pottery and the artist's particular style. There were also ranges of single coloured wares, such as bowls and jugs, and others that were left unglazed or given a rough cast finish.

In addition to these generic ranges the Hartrox artists also produced unique pieces with patterns that were not repeated on any other piece or in the case of tableware sets of other sets. These pieces were mark "Individual Pottery" in a handwritten script.

DESMOND COOPER AND DEE CEE
There is a lot of misinformation circulating on the internet, particularly on auction sites, about Desmond Cooper and Dee Cee. We have seen such comments as "the artist Desmond Cooper", "the Dee Cee studio" and more commonly "made by Dee Cee". Neither Desmond Cooper nor Dee Cee made pottery.

Desmond Cooper was a Birmingham based businessman who traded under the Dee Cee name and owned a number of gift shops across England, often in coastal resorts. He commissioned pottery items from a number of manufacturers in the UK and Germany. With the possible exception of one pottery (Wade), the manufacturer's name does not appear on Dee Cee products, they simply carry the Dee Cee brand name. However, a few of the pieces produced by Hartrox, particularly Individual Pottery items, do carry the artist's mark, but these are exceptions rather than the rule.
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
The first thing to say about this website is that it is NOT a complete guide to Hartrox, Hartrox artists and Hartrox products. The information contained in the website is based on the modest collection that we have been able to assemble.  Except for the three resources listed below, we have been unable to find any sources that systematically and reliably provide information about the company, its artists and its products. We are on a journey of discovery and this website will continue to be an unfinished "work in progress".

Any information that will fill the obvious gaps in our knowledge, for example the names of unidentified artists, will be warmly welcomed, as will be the correction of any errors that we have perpetrated.
RESOURCES
DAVID WILDERS: Hartleys: Brick by Brick Pot by Pot  Castleford Press (2003)
An essential resource for anyone interested in Hartleys, Hartrox or the West Yorkshire pottery and brick making industry. Contains a detailed history of the company and first hand personal accounts by people who worked in its pottery and brick divisions.
Now unfortunately out of print but copies can be sometimes obtained from online book retailers and auction sites.

FRANK L. WOOD: The World of British Stoneware: Its History, Manufacture and Wares (pages 85 to 87) Matador (2014)

WAKEFIELD MUSEUMS: Online Collections  www.wakefield .gov.uk
Go to the Museum Collections page on this site. At the bottom of the page there is a box marked "Castleford potteries" click on this and then enter Hartley in the search box.
Photographs and comments on 40 of the pots held by the Museum. A very useful source particularly as an aid to identifying items which are not obviously Hartrox.