Popular in Victorian times, a centrepiece was designed to stand on a dining table or sideboard, and convey the theme of the gathering such as Christmas or Easter, as well as the social status of the owner. Often very elaborately made, they can take many forms, including epergnes, sculpture, multi basket containers for fruit or sweetmeats, and large bowls. They have been made in a variety of materials including glass, ceramics, silver, silverplate and bronze. Centrepiece is also the name given to the central feature of an item of jewellery such as a necklace or bracelet.
Learn about Moorcroft
William Moorcroft was employed by Staffordshire pottery manufacturers James Macintyre & Co. Ltd. as a designer in 1897, and after a year he was responsible for the company's art pottery studio.
William Moorcroft created designs for the Macintyre's Aurelian Ware range of high-Victorian pottery, which had transfer-printed and enamelled decoration in bold red, blue and gold colours. He also developed the art nouveau-influenced Florian Ware which was decorated entirely by hand, with the design outlined in trailed slip using a technique known as tubelining. William Moorcroft's designs won him a gold medal at the St. Louis International Exhibition in 1904.
Each piece of pottery produced was personalised with Moorcroft's own signature or initials.
William Moorcroft and James Macintyre & Co. Ltd. split up in 1913 and Moorcroft founded his own factory nearby. Some finance came from the famous London store Liberty, and Liberty continued to exercise control over Moorcroft until 1962.
Moorcroft's reputation was further enhanced with the appointment of the Moorcroft company as Potter to HM The Queen in 1928. more...On the death of William Moorcroft in 1945, his elder son, Walter, took over management and design and he continued in this position until his retirement in 1987, after which he continued contributing to Moorcroft designs.
During the tenure of Walter Moorcroft, the Liberty store's interest in Moorcroft was purchased by Moorcroft in 1962.
In the 1980s Moorcroft got into financial difficulties as a result of rising wages and fuel, which were exacerbated by the labour intensive techniques employed by Moorcroft and the company went through several changes in ownership with the result that from 1993 the company was controlled by the Edwards family, which is still the case.
The young 24 year old designer Rachel Bishop joined Moorcroft in 1993, as only its fourth designer in almost a hundred years and her designs become immediately popular. In 1997 the Moorcroft Design Studio was formed with eight designers, and with Rachel Bishop as head designer.
Moorcroft celebrated its centenary in 1997, marking the year that William Moorcroft joined MacIntyre as its founding date, rather than the year the company was founded.
Moorcroft is still producing art pottery in its own distinctive design style, and with astute promotion and limited edition designs including Australian flora and flora, is selling more than it did in the mid-1920’s, its previous heyday.
William Moorcroft, Comport, c. 1930, 'Orchid' pattern, decorated to the interior with orchids against a yellow and navy blue ground, signed in blue 'W. Moorcroft', impressed facsimile signature and 'Potter to H.M. the Queen, Made in Eng
William Moorcroft, Comport, c. 1925, 'Eventide' pattern, decorated to the interior with a tree in a landscape against a mottled orange ground, signed in blue 'W. Moorcroft', impressed 'Moorcroft Made in England', retains printed Moo
William Moorcroft, 'Tudric' Comport, c. 1920, 'Big Poppy' pattern, decorated to the interior with four large poppies against a navy blue ground, with hammered pewter foot, stamped 'Made in England, Tudric, Moorcroft' and numbered
A Moorcroft comport in the 'Pomegranate' pattern, the dark blue ground with larger and smaller fruit in various red and dark purple tones with leaf highlights in khakhi green colourway, circular flared form raised on a wide tapered pedestal foot, impressed
A Moorcroft plum comport, after 1950, plum design from circa 1925, with green Moorcroft monogram, the flared bowl on a waisted circular foot, richly decorated to the interior with maroon and purple plums and a scattering of yellow fruits on a deep cobalt g
A good William Moorcroft comport decorated in the Pomegranate pattern, traditional soft red tones on deep blue ground, decorated to the interior and exterior, raised on a Liberty's of London Tudric pewter base with hand beaten effect. Height 22.5 cm. Diame
A Moorcroft ochre pomegranate pattern comport, circa 1912, circular with external and internal continuous pomegranate decoration on an ochre ground signed W. Moorcroft stamped made for Liberty & Co 25 cm diameter.
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