A CELEBRATION OF 1950s STONEWARE FROM CASTLEFORD
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A BRIEF HISTORY
(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).
GENERIC RANGES AND INDIVIDUAL POTTERY
picture shows part of Castleford in 1926 with Hartleys base at the
Phillips Pottery outlined in black in the bottom right hand corner
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
single coloured wares, such as bowls and jugs, and others that were
left unglazed or given a rough cast finish.
DESMOND COOPER AND DEE CEE
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.
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.
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
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.
DAVID WILDERS: Hartleys: Brick by Brick Pot by
Pot Castleford Press
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
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
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