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Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre

         
Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire England
Description : 

Hayley painting - MoorcroftWe strongly recommend a visit to one of the best kept secrets of the applied arts...

At the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre and Museum you will enter a potbank steeped in history, where artists, and craftspeople still make some of the finest art pottery in the world today. Moorcroft, located in the heart of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, is one of the last remaining independent art potteries and operates out of the original brick, Arts & Crafts 'studio' style factory.

Each piece of art is made entirely by hand under the awesome shadow of the Grade II listed bottleoven. Moorcroft uses the proprietary glazes and distinctive slip-trailing methods, known by those in the know as 'tubelining,' pioneered by William Moorcroft at the end of the 19th century. Liquid clay is applied by hand to create a raised ceramic design outline before the work is infilled with striking metallic glazes. This incredibly labour-intensive process produces colourful designs of intricacy, brilliance, and clarity with colours shimmering like precious jewels following a second firing with a vitreous glaze.

Moorcroft Pottery was originally founded as a studio in 1897, within the James Macintyre & Co. an industrial ceramic company, through the ground breaking work of ceramicist extraordinaire, William Moorcroft, who at the tender age of 24 years-old, was soon selling his work to retailers, including the prestigious Liberty of London, under his own signature before opening a company under his own name, Moorcroft.

HERITAGE VISITOR CENTRE
In truth, the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre has been described as the jewel in Stoke-on-Trent's crown. From the very moment you step inside The Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre, under the vast shadow of the colossal Moorcroft Grade II Listed Bottle Oven, pottery glistens like precious stones in an exciting array of vivid colours and in a wealth of designs. All in stark contrast to Stoke-on-Trent's industrial backdrop.

To add to the delightful atmosphere, you can quite literally step inside the Grade II Listed Bottleoven, just as potters would have done over a century ago, as they balanced saggars on their heads. Framed photographs of potters past allow you to bask in times gone by, indeed, there is even a pot with a barge named Moorcroft not to mention the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre itself! Just around every corner you will find handmade vases, clocks, lamps, jugs and plaques, and much more, all created in the handmade 'Moorcroft' tradition and with surface decorations covering many subject matters from landscapes, cityscapes, floral masterpieces, fruit, animals, fantasy and more. It really is a journey through the arts from times past to times present – a place to acquire treasures to cherish for a lifetime. For those with a keen eye, there are a few rare trials and limited editions to be found – some of which, will not be found anywhere else in the world!

MUSEUM
A Museum, which houses fascinating pieces of Moorcroft in their original Liberty Cabinets, allows visitors to view the history of ceramic art through the ages. Journey through Art Nouveau, and Art Deco to the astounding designs of today and bask in a ceramic heritage par excellence. Entrance to the shop and Museum is Free of Charge.

Over the past two decades, Moorcroft's international profile has grown enormously, both in quality and in perceived value. Auctioneers Christies and Bonhams hold a dedicated Moorcroft sale each year. Indeed, the Victoria & Albert museum has joined many other national museums in holding significant pieces of Moorcroft pottery in their permanent collections. Recently, Moorcroft has appeared on a numbers of television shows including Celebrity Antiques Roadshow. Fortunately for visitors to the Staffordshire pottery, Moorcroft is far from just antiques – it is alive and kicking, with designs that intrigue and all created by a friendly and talented workforce.

FACTORY TOURS
A maximum of 10 people can be taken on a factory tour at one time. However, large group bookings can be arranged for up to 20 people. Address: Sandbach Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, ST6 2DQ.

Duration: Factory tours last approx 1 hour. Pre-booking is essential, factory tours can be booked in advance to book 01782 820515. There is a vending machine available onsite for hot drinks.

TOUR TIMES
Monday - Friday 11am only
Opening times may vary on Bank Holidays, please ring to confirm times.
Prices : Adults £7.50, Children (age 11-16) £5.00, OAP £6.50, and Group booking £6.50pp Please make your booking at least 2 weeks in advance. Tours are subject to maximum numbers so you will need to contact the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.

A SHOPPING EXPERIENCE WITH VIDEO PREVIEW!
With a team of highly trained sales advisers on hand, you can browse among a wide selection of limited editions, general ranges, exclusive shop designs, table lamps and shades all designed for the astute collector.

If you do not have time for a factory tour, our sales advisers will find you a seat, numbers permitting, and play a short video, featuring television and ceramics expert, Eric Knowles, on how Moorcroft is made – just ask!

Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre is proud to be a part of the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS). Onsite, we do have a loop system for the Hard of Hearing, alongside a wheelchair that is available for use, if needed, kindly pre-book to avoid disappointment. The Centre itself does have disabled access by means of ramps, no stairs, and a disabled toilet. Moorcroft will endeavour to ensure that disabled people are not treated any less favourably, and that 'reasonable adjustments' are made where appropriate and possible through sensitive and creative solutions. Please speak to our Retail Director, Kim Thompson, if we can be of more assistance.

OPENING HOURS
Monday - Saturday: 10:30 - 16:30, Open Bank Holidays, Closed Sundays, Christmas Day to New Year. Assistance dogs are welcome. Occasionally, there are changes to publicised times at short notice, and we suggest checking our website prior to travel.

PRICES
Moorcroft Shop, Car Park, Moorcroft Museum
& Bottle Oven: Free entry
EXPLORE MOORCROFT ONLINE:
www.moorcroft.com

EVENTS
Moorcroft have a number of events within the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre all of the year round. From the launch of the 2020 catalogue, Valentines and Christmas celebrations to other notable seasonal events, including their annual open day in May each year. It is certainly worth checking the Moorcroft on-line event diary www.moorcroft.com/events

READER OFFER
QUOTE 'Signpost' and receive 10% off your first purchase at the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre. Offer ends 20th January 2021. No other offers, vouchers or discounts apply.

 
The Greatest Moorcroft Design of All Time - no Moorcroft collection is really complete without a Moorcroft Queens Choice Ginger Jar.
Buy Now Link 
Click here to read the full story

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Designs of Rarity
MOORCROFT have now introduced a Designs of Rarity page to their website, containing a carefully scrutinised collection of special and rare pieces of art pottery. Usually Moorcroft editions can be anything from 15 to 100 pieces. On these Designs of Rarity www.moorcroft.com/designs-of-rarity pages, the pieces often come in minuscule limited editions of only 2 pieces and occasionally, are one-offs!
At the world famous art pottery, limited editions can sell out quickly when there are thousands of Moorcroft collectors worldwide. In truth, pieces of art pottery will come and go, inevitably rarely available for long, so time is of the essence when you see a design that you desire, as it may disappear in Moorcroft's historical archives before too long. A visit to Moorcroft Museum, housed in original Liberty cabinets, allows you to journey through the history of the applied arts over the last century due to the simple fact that Moorcroft is still made just as it always was (although now without dangerous lead glazes and without a colossal bottle over belching toxins into the atmosphere) from Art Nouveau, Art Deco to the Broad florals of the 1960's and 1970's, the bold designs of the 1980's and the return to their Arts & Crafts roots in latter- years.
Designs of Rarity include designers' trials, very small limited editions, original designers' watercolours, flambé painted pieces recreating the red colour palette of yesteryear and unique connoisseurs' pieces, in some cases with only one of each piece in existence. These truly are the pieces for the collectors' collections!
Among these pieces is a mushroom tea set limited to only 2 sets. The tea sets comprise of: Tea pot, creamer, sugar, tea cup, saucer and side plate. A feast of toadstools and mushrooms appear on Moorcroft designer, Vicky Lovett's, quirky and cheerful tea set. On the teapot is Fly Agaric; on the cup and saucer is Mycena Rosea; on the cream jug is lilac bonnet; on the sugar is Firerug Inkcap; on the side plate is Leaf Parachute.
One vase is particularly eye-catching, and aptly named Swing. Broad florals, have the power to bring colour, cheer, gest, and a whimsical freedom into an interior design and none more so than Swing which sees Mary Quant-style broad florals in a bold apricot and raspberry fusion with ditsy Rock Daisies and warm coloured Mediterranean peonies all bursting into life together. The connection to Moorcroft and broad florals is a historical one – the 1970's saw Walter Moorcroft sweep the Potteries brown and avocado-green, not unlike the bathroom suites of the time, as he hit the applied arts at a similar time as Mary Quant did in the fashion industry.

Entirely hand painted in a multitude of metallic oxides reminiscent of the paisley tones of the 1960 and 1970's, but without the teardrop motif, Emma Bossons FRSA uses a colourway that will bring a smile to many and will certainly be a statement piece of art in any room. These are Moorcroft colourways that display with prowess the superiority of Moorcroft's phenomenal palette and wonderful raised design image. Each flower and leaf is painstakingly outlined in liquid clay slip with decorators who train for at least 2-years in the heritage craft skill of tubelining. Hand-painting designs of rarity is a privilege given to only the most experienced of Moorcroft artists – many of whom have worked for Moorcroft for over twenty-years.
Another unique design is Factory Flowers Blue, which sees Moorcroft designer, Kerry Goodwin, displaying Moorcroft's iconic grade II listed bottle oven, which has just celebrated its hundredth birthday amidst the flowers that have inspired generations of Moorcroft design and that surround the unique factory in the heart of Burslem, Stoke-on- Trent, with only the use of blue glazes. The beds and borders are lovingly tended to by Moorcroft collectors, including a couple who work at Kew Gardens, when they visit and are filled with spring flowers which appeared on pieces from 1936 until the late 1950s under the stewardship of both William and his son Walter. The design (pictured immediately below) was launched as part of Moorcroft's History in the Making Collection in a colourful burst as a numbered edition and is still available to order.

Once the new 1919 bottle oven was up and running, production continued at a pace throughout the 1920s. Flowers were still used as the main source of inspiration and at least ten new designs were launched during this period, featuring both domestic and exotic flora. In 1956, Moorcroft's world was to change with the introduction of The Clean Air Act. Coal-fired bottle ovens were no longer used and instead, electric kilns began operation.
In 1956, the first Moorcroft bottle oven was demolished following the installation of an electric tunnel kiln for glaze firing. The second bottle oven was demolished once the changeover to electric firing had been completed in 1960, and the third, and youngest, bottle oven remained alone, destined to become the historic feature of the factory that it is today.
In the 1970s, the brown brick factory was white-washed and has remained so ever since. Kerry's vase shows the factory as it is today. The beds and borders that some of our dedicated Club members lovingly tend when they visit us, are filled with Spring Flowers which appeared on pieces from 1936 until the late 1950s under the stewardship of both William and his son Walter. Kerry's bottle oven has smoke billowing from it – a figment of her imagination for the very good reason that by the 1970s, it lay silent and dormant, enjoying a well-earned rest, after so many years loyal service
As part of the highly revered new DESIGNS OF RARITY pieces, Kerry's design has been carefully transformed into a blue-on-blue design for an unusual alternative in a limited edition of only 2 sets! One day someone will turn the base such pieces over and delight at such rarity. The blue-on-blue colourway also has connections to Moorcroft's past. The hallowed 'blue-on-blue' colourway which first appeared in 1897/8 has been frequently used to colour Moorcroft designs since that time with some collectors just building up Moorcroft collections of their own using only this colourway. Visit the Moorcroft Designs of Rarity and discover for yourself what Moorcroft connoisseurs favour.

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Opening Hours : Monday to Friday - 10am to 5pm, Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm (Inclusive of Bank Holidays)
Car Park and Admission are Free. Coach Parties are Welcome.
Closed Sunday.Closed Christmas to New Year for annual holidays.
Telephone 01782 207943
 
IMG 0057Fantastical FriendsPaul Pickard 33Collectors in MHVC

 

 

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