It is a curious fact the the only published history of the Mortlake potteries (other than transcripts of lectures given to ceramic societies) has been a twelve page booklet written by John Eustace Anderson over a hundred years ago. Robin Hildyard began the process of updating Anderson’s account in his 1993 article for the magazine Antique Collecting and its history has now been expanded following extensive research by Jack Howarth.
The result of his collaboration is a fascinating story focusing on the working life of Joseph Kishere, from his apprenticeship at Sanders’ Mortlake Pottery to the foundation of his own potworks in 1797. As the story unfolds it traces the history of both enterprises, their owners, their families and the Thames-side village in which they lived.
These innovative Mortlake potters introduced new shapes and added a range of appealing rustic sprigged motifs. They may not have invented the moulded Toby Philpot jug, but they did invent the sprigged hunting jug, with its contrasting dark brown and buff body which was to remain highly popular throughout the nineteenth century and beyond.
Wares from the two potteries, now in museums or private collections, are described and fully illustrated, many items being featured for the first time in this ground-breaking book.