Ruskin pottery in every shape, size, colour and glaze imaginable is adding winter warmth to our saleroom ahead of its auction in December.
The Ruskin Pottery Studio, named after artist, writer and social thinker John Ruskin, was founded in Smethwick, West Midlands, in 1898 by Edward R Taylor. He was the first principal of the Lincoln School of Art and Birmingham School of Art and the pottery was run by his son, William Howson Taylor.
Ruskin wares were notable thanks to innovative glazes on brightly coloured pots, vases, buttons, bowls, tea services and jewellery. Ceramic glazes devised by William Howson Taylor included misty soufflé glazes, ice crystal effect glazes (crystalline), lustre glazes resembling metallic finishes and, the most highly regarded of all, sang-de-boeuf and flambé glazes which produced a blood red effect.
The sang-de-boeuf glazes were created using reduction of copper and iron oxides at high temperature. This was a difficult technique, first developed in China in the 13th century and reinvented by European art potters in the late 19th century. William Howson Taylor was a principal exponent of this technique.
When the Ruskin studio closed in 1935 the formulae for its glazes and all pottery documentation were deliberately destroyed, so its products could never be replicated.
A large collection of Ruskin pottery will be sold on December 7 in Hansons’ Derbyshire Fine Art Auction. Catalogue www.hansonslove.co.uk.Ceramics to sell? To arrange a free valuation, email [email protected].