Carter Stabler Adams Poole Vase Pattern PN Designed by Truda Carter, Paintress Ruth Pavely

October Newsletter - Odd Ones Out

Almost every pottery and designer has trademark shapes and patterns - designs that have come to characterise that pottery in many people's minds, and are immediately associated with the pottery.

However, sometimes it pays to stray off the beaten track, and to spend some time looking for a pottery's lesser-known designs and finishes. This will often reveal some wholly-unexpected pieces, as well as unfamiliar variants on more common designs. This month, we have chosen three pieces for the newsletter that come from well-known designers and potteries but aren't what you might expect.

PenDelfin - A Touch of Blue Peter Magic

PenDelfin's humorously-modelled and hand-painted rabbits are a fairly frequent and easily-recognisable sight at antiques and collectors fairs all over the UK. Less well-known is PenDelfin's early output, which didn't involve rabbits at all.

PenDelfin's very first wares were plaques - both large, three-dimensional wall plaques, and a range of mythological and literary figures, such as witches, elves, and nursery rhyme characters. Other animals were also produced, such as the rare Manx Kitten, and from PenDelfin's inception in 1953 until 1956, a whole raft of different ranges were experimented with. 1956 saw the introduction of the first PenDelfin rabbits, and their dramatic and rapid success soon meant that almost all of PenDelfin's output was rabbit-based, but there was still room for the occasional creative surprise.

One such surprise was the Pixie Bods. Made only from 1965-1967, they were originally conceived by Jean Walmsley Heap as a decorative means of support for straggling pot plant branches, hence their mix of pottery and pipe cleaner construction. Today they are a rare sight, and their finely-modelled elfin features and brightly-coloured outfits make them a great contrast to the more familiar PenDelfin rabbits.

Pendelfin Pottery Pixie Bod Pendelfin Pottery Pixie Bod Pendelfin Pottery Pixie Bod

Take the Smooth with the Rough

Although a more common sight than a Pixie Bod, Troika pottery's smooth-glazed wares are a world apart from the rough-textured pieces most frequently associated with the Troika Pottery.

Despite being wonderfully-finished in smooth, creamy glazes, with subtly-patterned decoration, Troika pieces such as this small slab vase never achieved the level of popularity of their textured brethren, and were always additionally hampered by higher prices.

Early Troika St Ives Smooth Glazed Slab Vase printed St Ives stamp

Today the price disparity is reduced, but smooth-glazed pieces of Troika are a much rarer sight than textured pieces, and do have a smaller collector base as well. It's a mistake to dismiss them on these grounds, though, as they offer an interesting insight into the creative impulses that drove Troika's founders, Benny Sirota and Leslie Illsley, and they make an interesting addition to any collection.

Keith Murray - A Bluer Shade of Green

Keith Murray's work for Wedgwood is well-regarded and popular with collectors of Art Deco pottery. Simple, yet perfectly-balanced and pleasing to the eye, Murray shapes like the shoulder vase and football vase are instantly recognisable to collectors, as are the matt straw (yellow), moonstone (white) and green glazes that were most often used to decorate Murray's shapes.

Wedgwood Keith Murray Matt Green Football Ribbed Vase 3801 Script MarkWedwood Keith Murray  3801 Football Shape Vase Moonstone White

A more unusual piece is this KM-stamped turquoise bowl. Turquoise, or blue, is one of the rarest of the coloured glazes used on Keith Murray pieces, and is highly-sought after.

Wedgwood Keith Murray  Turquoise Blue 3753 Tapering Bowl

This bowl is in shape 3753 and has all the distinctive Keith Murray style of the better-known shapes, combined with a surprisingly compact size - the bowl only stands 4 Ĺ" tall, and measures 6" in diameter.

Online Past Stock Guide

Our online pottery price guide database is growing apace, and while we still have a little way to go, it now contains full details, including sale prices and large pictures, of many of the pieces we have sold over the last few years. There are still some more to come, but any comments or questions you have on this facility, or any other part of our website will be very welcome.

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!