William Moorcroft (potter)

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Vase in Hazeldene pattern by William Moorcroft, probably for retail at Libertys, c 1905-10

William Moorcroft (1872-1945) was an English potter who founded the Moorcroft pottery business.[1]


He was born in Burslem, Staffordshire. He studied art at Burslem then in London and Paris.[2] He experimented with his own pottery designs around 1896 while working for James Macintyre . and produced Aurelian Ware which was partly decorated with transfers and partly painted by hand. Moorcroft developed highly lustred glazes and used oriental shapes and decorations. Some of his techniques were closely guarded trade secrets. He then developed his famous Florian Ware, with heavy slip and a translucent glaze which produces brilliance of colour.[3]

Marian Lasenby's wedding dress on the left, Victoria & Albert Museum

He married Florence Nora Fleay Lovibond (1879-1926) in 1913. They had a daughter, Beatrice (1914) and a son, Walter (1917). He then married, in 1928, Marian Lasenby, who was related to the Lasenby Liberty family who owned the popular department store in London. Miss Lasenby decided not to wear white when she married: her husband was a widower and 27 years her senior. Instead she ordered a dress with a hat and matching reversible coat from Liberty's.


In 1913, William Moorcroft set up his own factory at Cobridge with staff from Macintyres, and backed by a financial arrangement with Liberty & Co of London, The business succeeded. Much of the output was sold through Liberty & Co.[4] and Tiffany in New York City. In 1928 Queen Mary made him "Potter to the Queen" through a Royal Warrant, which was stamped on the pottery. His son, Walter joined the company when he was twenty, and took over the management of the pottery in 1945 just before William's death.

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