Thursday, 3 February 2011

Burmantofts pottery



Anybody know what this is? I haven't a clue, though it is another piece of Burmantofts pottery, with its colourful turquoise glaze and unusual pierced design. It looks lovely against the stone floor of the 1853 Gallery in Salts Mill - though I think many visitors pass it by without even noticing it.

The history of the Burmantofts pottery is interesting. It began as a small coal-mining and brick-making business in 1842 in the Burmantofts area of Leeds, run by two young men: William Wilcock and John Lassey. They discovered fireclay in their mine and began using it to make sanitary pipes and chimney pots. John Lassey died young and his share of the business was eventually sold to John Holroyd and then to his son Ernest. When William Wilcock also died, Ernest's brother James Holroyd became the general manager. He gradually developed the business, starting to produce decorative tiles and pottery including eventually high-temperature faience (glazed terracotta) architectural pottery and the 'Art Pottery' for which Burmantofts became nationally renowned. Trade prospered until 1904 when fashions suddenly changed and manufacture of terracotta pottery ceased. The business continued with other products until 1957.

Some of the Burmantofts ware is intricately decorated like the vase I showed yesterday. Other pieces are in a single bright (lead) colour and glaze, with intricate moulding and raised lines. Still others have stylised Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts designs: curvy stems and flowers, leaves, peacocks and fish. It's highly collectable these days, with even small pieces fe
tching hundreds of pounds at auction.

As I said yesterday, the Silver family have an enviable collection displayed in Salts Mill. The Leeds museums (including the Abbey House Museum at Kirkstall) also have collections, and some buildings in Leeds, such as the University, have Burmantofts ceramic decoration incorporated into their architecture.

18 comments:

  1. I'd say it's the top of a chimney, to decorate the roof, and let the smoke go outside.But..I'm not a specialist! :)
    Fabulous work anyway!

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  2. Hi again and thanks for visiting my blog, too!
    Amazing story this Burmantofs pottery and the other day, visiting the 1853 Gallery I was wondering what these stranges form-things could be... Must definitely come back there to take more time!!!!

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  3. I think I have noticed it when I have been in the mill. I always thought it was some kind of decorative stove pipe.

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  4. It looks a bit like the kerosine heater we used to have 50 years ago except it was made of metal. Maybe they put an oil lamp or something that burns to heat into the cavity at the bottom and it heats the ceramic. Just a hunch!

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  5. Looks very Moorish in design.

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  6. It looks like a stove we had when I was a child. It has the same shape, but was not made of pottery. It was of iron with a silver cover on top. Maybe the artist has been inspired by seeing one.

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  7. It is a pretty interesting looking thing, but I certainly don't have any idea what it is. You don't need to send it to me for my birthday, Jenny, but thanks for thinking of me.

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  8. This is just so, so beautiful!

    I was 'puppy sitting' yesterday, so missed this by a day. Thanks for visiting my blog :)

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  9. I agree with Diane, I think it's a firepot. And a gorgeous one at that!

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  10. Well Looks like I should have a trip to Saltaire, and veiw this and any other Burmantofts Pottery available..

    Craig Lassey
    Grt,Grt,Grt Grandson of John Lassey

    craiglassey@aol.com

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  11. I am sure it is a pottery stove and was used for heating in the home. a very beautiful piece years ago there were many around.

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  12. It is a Veritas Oil Stove cover Burmantofts made several versions.. I own three including this one. Gordon.

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    1. Gordon -

      There are only so many of us with large collections. Are you the fellow rumoured to have over 2,000 Burmantofts pieces as well as a vast Moorcroft collection ? I'd be interested in sharing Burmantofts information. My email address is jbpetschek@virginmedia.com Yours, Robert

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    2. Jenny -

      As per Gordon's comment these are Veritas Oil Stove 'covers.' Within the base would have sat the metal container holding the oil for burning. The lugs to hold the metal container should be apparent if you look within about six inches up from the base (The model you have has three lugs.) I'm aware of two floor standing models, as well as three much smaller versions which are rectangular in shape. I'd describe the rectangular models as being the size of a large bread bin and they are less decorative / more functional looking. Yours, Robert

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    3. Good to have confirmation of what this is; my thanks to these commenters.

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  13. Its a parafin heater you put a small metal burner in it

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