Cornish Troika Pottery, St. Ives Cornwall Carn Pottery T G Green Cornish Ware Derbyshire

The Cornish Effect

Around this time last year, we took a trip to Cornwall, enjoying some unseasonably good weather and combining work with pleasure.

Cornwall has always been a popular bolt hole for artists and sculptors and in recent years has become especially well-known in collectable circles as the birthplace of Troika Pottery.

Founded at Wheal Dream in St. Ives, 1963, Troika's innovative wares met with immediate success and its mixture of rough-textured and smooth-glazed wares have a contrasting and stylish appeal that fits well in modern homes.

The Sloop Inn St.Ives CornwallSt.Ives Beach, CornwallSt.Ives Cornwall
From left - The Sloop Inn, favoured haunt of Troika founders Benny Sirota & Leslie Illsley. St. Ives Beach, and Wheal Dream - the original St. Ives site of the Troika pottery

Although Troika's popularity declined after the pottery closed in 1983, in recent years the Cornish pottery has undergone a notable revival, rising dramatically in popularity and price. Troika pottery now shows every sign of maturing into a genuine collectable, and has consistently been one of the most popular potteries on the Perfect Pieces site.

The (Not So) Young Pretender

Troika's revival has contributed to an increased awareness of Cornish pottery and has probably helped to increase the popularity of another Cornish ware, Carn Pottery. Founded in 1971 by a young John Beusmans, Carn is based fairly near to Troika's original St. Ives home in Nancledra, near Penzance.

John Beusmans Carn Pottery. Nancledra, near Penzance, Cornwall. John Beusmans Carn Pottery. Nancledra, near Penzance, Cornwall. Tin Mine, Cornwall, UK
The Carn Pottery, Nancledra, An Old Cornish Tin Mine

Beusmans' Carn pottery is easily recognisable by its characteristic blue-green wash, and his designs clearly reflect both the natural and the man-made elements of the Cornish environment, including such varying influences as sea shells and tin mines.

Like Troika, Carn pottery is made in moulds, but its decoration is far less varied than its older competitor - at least on modern pieces.

Carn pottery is still in business today and relatively high volumes of newly-manufactured pieces can be found in gift shops, garden centres and the like throughout the St Ives/Penzance area. Carn has also started to feature at antique and collectors fairs - often in considerable quantities.

Cornish Carn Pottery Cat Signed piece of John Beusmans Carn Pottery.. Cornish Carn Pottery Vase

Rarer, early pieces of Carn hold much greater interest and are sometimes decorated with unusual, boldly coloured glazes. Unfortunately, these more interesting pieces have become extremely difficult to find and are rarely seen for sale.

When Is Cornish Not Cornish?

T G Green Cornish WareOne brand that is sometimes mistakenly assumed to have Cornish origins is Cornish Ware. Its blue and white stripes certainly conjure up images of the Cornish seaside, but in fact it originally hails from the T. G. Green pottery in Church Gresley, South Derbyshire - and has no link to Cornwall at all!

Introduced after World War I to utilise spare production capacity, Cornish Ware proved a fantastic success and continued to be made right up to the pottery's closure in 1964 (indeed, production continues today under new ownership).

T G Green Cornish Ware Flour Sifter T G Green Cornish Ware Salt Box T G Green Cornish Ware Storage Jar

Cornish Ware is probably one of the most easily recognised types of kitchenalia, providing a huge range of collectable and usable pottery for kitchen ware collectors.

All three of these potteries contrast hugely with one another - perhaps showing just how powerful the marketing appeal of England's sunniest county is - after all, "Derbyshire Ware" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

Best Wishes,

Perfect Pieces


Here you'll find a list of our past newsletters. They feature information on different potteries, some of our featured stock and information on antique fairs and general news from the antique and collectors world!

Happy reading!