Real or Fake Staffordshire Pottery?

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Is the pottery you have the real thing, a copy or fake?

Reproduction ware, imitation or 'passing off' as another potters ware has been a problem as long ago as  Wedgwood's time.

For example in 1848 Francis Wedgwood (son of Josiah Wedgwood II) who was one of the owners of the Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Etruria works took out an injunction against William Smith & Co to prevent them using the Wedgwood mark. 

W. S. & CO's

W. S. & CO's

W. S. & CO


see 'confused about Wedgwood'

see articles on fakes and reproductions

 | William Lowe |  Art Nouveau French collection | Wong Lee |



Victoria Ironstone using a simple lion & unicorn mark
Victoria Ironstone 
using a simple lion & unicorn mark

Victoria Ironstone using the full "Royal Arms" mark
Victoria Ironstone 
the full "Royal Arms" mark

Victoria Ironstone:- 'Flow Blue' style ware - These are modern Chinese imports.  They are illustrated in the Staffordshire Figure Company Ltd's catalogues of c.1996 and  occur on at least 20 different shapes from chamber pots to vases.  A variety of patterns were used from Willow-type Chinese designs to European style landscapes.

These wares were not (2002) listed on the company's website but one sees them so often in 'antique shops' - both here and in the USA that it is possible that they are still being imported.

stamped Victoria Ironstone
5 Piece set of jugs, stamped Victoria Ironstone on the bottom. 
Sizes are 9-3/4", 8-1/2", 6-1/2", 5-1/4", 3-3/4" tall.

Staffordshire England Staffordshire England:- not a recognisable mark of any known Staffordshire pottery maker.

Genuine potters were proud to put their name, initials or individual mark on their ware.

Carltons Fantasia Ware Burslam

Carltons  Fantasia  Ware Burslam

[note the misspelling of BURSLEM]

Script Mark backstamp
Genuine Script Mark backstamp

Carltons Fantasia Ware Burslam:- These colourful items decorated with fairies appear as jugs, plates, biscuit barrels etc.  The base has the backstamp "Carlton's Fantasia Ware Burslam".  

They have nothing to do with Carlton Ware.


see article on Carlton Ware

Doulton: Flow blue style ware, jugs and biscuit barrels - some with 'silverware' handles and bands.

They appear to be porcelain from China & the frame & metalwork is too heavy.

American China Co.
American China Co.
Toronto, Ohio

Copying part of British Royal Coat of Arms with the Lion, Unicorn

Early American Ironstone:

These are not fakes or forgeries but are an attempt to make the backstamp on the American ware look like a British mark.
Until the late 19th century, most dinnerware in the US was imported.  However, in the 1870s and 1880s, several American potters began to make white "granite ware." 
In an attempt to sell more of their wares, most American potteries did not mark their wares, and some used marks that resembled the British Royal Arms.


see details on American Potters use of Royal Arms

Flow Blue:

This is a mark from a wash basin. It is probably fake or reproduction for the following reasons:-

1) Flow Blue is a transfer ware process where the blue as run or flowed during the firing process. The name "Flow Blue" is a more recent description and was not used by the manufacturers to describe the ware.

2) There is no known original manufacturer who uses the trade name "IRON WARE" - this appears to be an attempt to imitate the genuine trade names such as "IRONSTONE" "STONEWARE"

3) The arms mark appears to be an attempt to reproduce the Royal Arms (but the lion and the unicorn are on the wrong sides) - it was not uncommon for both American and English potters to use a "fake" arms mark. see more details on the Royal Arms

4) lastly the style of the mark just doesn't look right - it has a stencilled look to it - not at all like the transfer printed mark which was used at the time.



NOTE: all the information is given in good faith and believed to be correct -
however if you are going to use it for the basis of valuations, purchases
or sales then you must verify it from independent, qualified sources.


 11 November 2005