Famous Potters of Stoke-on-Trent

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Davenport family of potters

John Davenport, born in 1765, is said to have begun potting in 1785, first as a workman, and later as a partner with Thomas Wolfe of Stoke. 

He acquired his own pottery at Longport for the manufacture of earthenware in 1794. In 1830 he retired, and his two sons Henry and William carried on the firm until 1835, when Henry died. 

This style of the firm then became William Davenport and Company. William died in 1869, and his two sons took over the direction of the business, which remained in the family until 1887.


At the beginning, earthenwares only were made, of which blue printed and formed a large part. Porcelain was not manufactured until about 1815. 
During the whole existence of the firm underglaze blue transferware printed earthenwares and wares were made in very large quantities. Many different bodies were used, including a stone china. The blue varies from a light to a medium color. Willow patterns were made extensively, and unlike most of the other potters, chinoiseries of different designs remained one of the key motifs of their printed in patterns over the whole period. These are seen on every conceivable type of domestic ware. Baskets with openwork sides, and plates and dishes with pierced and wicker pattern borders, were made in quantity. Other designs of floral patterns, romantic ruins and pastoral scenes were used. No named English scenic views appear to have been made, nor did the firm cater for the American market in this type of ware, although a view of the city of Montreal is reported in one American book on pottery.

It is probable that many of the earliest pieces were not marked, but judging from the number of 19th-century pieces which still may be found it must have been rare for a piece made after 1800 not to have been marked. The earliest mark was the name "Davenport", impressed in lower case letters, with or without an anchor after 1805, the name more often appears in upper case letters. Occasionally the anchor appears alone. The word Longport is sometimes substitute for Davenport.

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Identifying marks on Davenport ware
Examples of Davenport Ware 


Davenport transferware

Davenport backstamp


questions / comments? email: Steve Birks