In 1897 Staffordshire pottery manufacturers James Macintyre & Co. Ltd employed 24-year-old William Moorcroft as a designer, and within a year he was put in charge of the company's art pottery studio. Moorcroft's first innovative range of pottery, called Florian Ware, was a great success and he won a gold medal at the St. Louis International Exhibition in 1904.
William Moorcroft personalised each piece of pottery produced, with his own signature or initials. This did little for James Macintyre’s name and reputation, and Macintyre closed down his studio. In 1913 William Moorcroft set up his own company and production of his pottery was transferred to a new factory nearby where Moorcroft pottery is still made today.
The Moorcroft factory produced an extensive array of moderately-priced domestic tableware items in addition to its famous tube lined, hand-painted art pottery. Moorcroft's reputation was enhanced when Queen Mary, a keen collector of his works, granted him a Royal Warrant in 1928. Shortly before the death of William in 1945, his elder son, Walter Moorcroft, took control of the business, which he continued to develop. The company's royal warrant was re-issued in his name in 1946.
Between its founding and its leadership under Walter Moorcroft, the company had been financed in collaboration with the famous “Liberty of London”. The Liberty store's interest was bought out by Walter Moorcroft in 1962. Moorcroft seldom prospered and in 1984 the family sold the bulk of their shares and Moorcroft is now controlled by the Edwards family.
Walter Moorcroft retired as the director of design in 1987, but continued to contribute until his last design, 'Rock of Ages', was launched in 1999.
Walter Moorcroft – Rock of Ages Design
In 1993, 24-year-old Rachel Bishop joined the company as its senior designer. By claiming the original establishment of the Macintyre studio under William Moorcroft in 1897 as its own founding date, in 1997 Moorcroft celebrated its centenary.
A new Moorcroft Design Studio was established in 1998 and Moorcroft employed several designers to extend the range of its products.
All Moorcroft is handmade from start to finish, it is unique and totally fascinating. Moorcroft pottery has enriched homes with colour and craftsmanship for more than a hundred years, and with the skill of a dedicated workforce, Moorcroft will continue to provide collectors with a treasure trove for decades to come.