1950s Rye lamp base
1950s Rye lamp base (mark)
Bonassera bayonet light bulb
Bonassera bayonet light bulb (mark)
Bonassera champagne corks
Bonassera champagne corks (marks)
Bonassera cookie sack
Bonassera cookie sack (marks)
Bonassera cruet
Bonassera cruet (mark)
Bonassera goblets
Bonassera goblets (mark)
Bonassera his and hers mugs
Bonassera his and hers mugs (mark)
Bonassera inverted glove vase
Bonassera inverted glove vase (mark)
Bonassera mug
Bonassera mug (mark)
Bonassera pie box
Bonassera pie box (mark)
Bonassera screw light bulb
Bonassera screw light bulb (mark)
Bonassera STOP! ash tray
Bonassera STOP! ash tray (detail)
Bonassera STOP! ash tray (mark)
Brown Rye jug
Brown Rye jug (mark)
Brown Rye teapot
Candle holder with snuffer
Elliptical Rye vase
Elliptical Rye vase (mark)
Four Rye miniatures
Green Rye bowl
Green Rye bowl (mark)
Green Rye cup and saucer
Green Rye jug
Green Rye jug (marks)
Green Rye lamp base
Green Rye pot
Green Rye teapot
Green Rye teapot (mark)
Jim Elliot Rye vase
Jim Elliot Rye vase (mark)
Large Rye duck
Large Rye duck (mark)
Lidded Rye pot
Lidded Rye pot (mark)
Mereworth dish
Mereworth dish (mark)
Miniature Rye basket
Miniature Rye basket (base)
Miniature Rye candle holder
Miniature Rye candle holder (base)
Old miniature Rye mug
Old miniature Rye mug (mark)
Old Rye acorn vase
Old Rye acorn vase (mark)
Old Rye bag
Old Rye bag (mark)
Old Rye bowl
Old Rye bowl (mark)
Old Rye hop basket
Orange Rye pot
Orange Rye pot (mark)
Pink striped Rye pot
Pink striped Rye pot (mark)
Rye 'Charles and Diana' plate
Rye 'Prince of Wales' plate
Rye Anniversary Plate
Rye avocado bowl
Rye avocado bowl (mark)
Rye basket
Rye basket (marks)
Rye bowl, hop design
Rye bowl, hop design (mark)
Rye candlestick
Rye cat
Rye cat (mark)
Rye Charles and Diana bowl
Rye dish
Rye dish (mark)
Rye dish - Battle
Rye dish - Battle (mark)
Rye dish - Brighton
Rye dish - Brighton (mark)
Rye dish - Canterbury
Rye dish - Canterbury (mark)
Rye dish - Hastings
Rye dish - Hastings (mark)
Rye duck
Rye duck (mark)
Rye Duck II
Rye Duck II (mark)
Rye Festival jug
Rye Festival jug (base)
Rye footed dish
Rye footed dish (mark)
Rye fox
Rye fox (marks)
Rye fruit bowl
Rye fruit bowl (mark)
Rye Galactix bowls
Rye Galactix bowls (mark)
Rye hedgehog
Rye hedgehog (mark)
Rye hedgehog pomander
Rye hedgehog pomander (mark)
Rye hop bowl
Rye hop bowl (mark)
Rye hop lamp
Rye hop lamp (mark)
Rye hop vase
Rye hop vase (base)
Rye hop-ware jug
Rye hop-ware jug (base)
Rye jug
Rye jug (mark)
Rye jug by Sharp
Rye jug by Sharp (mark)
Rye Lamp base
Rye loving cup
Rye loving cup
Rye loving cup (mark)
Rye loving cup (marks)
Rye Mayflower plate
Rye Mayflower plate (mark)
Rye miniature candlestick
Rye miniature purse vase
Rye miniature purse vase (base)
Rye mug
Rye mug (mark)
Rye pig
Rye pig (mark)
Rye Pottery bird
Rye Pottery bird (mark)
Rye Pottery bowl
Rye Pottery jug
Rye Pottery mosaic vase
Rye Pottery mosaic vase (marks)
Rye sugar bowl
Rye sugar bowl (mark)
Rye teapot
Rye teapot (mark)
Rye three-handled hop vase
Rye three-handled hop vase (mark)
Rye vase
Rye vase (mark)
Rye vase with handles
Rye vase with handles (mark)
Rye Yeoman Pilgrim
Rye Yeoman Pilgrim (base)
Small de Bethel cat
Small de Bethel cat (mark)
Small Rye jug
Small Rye jug (mark)
Squashed Rye pot
Squashed Rye pot (mark)
Striped Rye mug
Sussex pig
Sussex pig (in use)
Time in hand
Time in hand (mark)
Tobacco jar
Tobacco jar (mark)
Townsend jam pot
Townsend jam pot (mark)
Trug
Trug (mark)
Two metallic miniatures
Very late Dennis Townsend pot
Very late Dennis Townsend pot (mark)
Wally Cole Caracal
Wally Cole Caracal (mark)
Wally Cole jug
Wally Cole jug (mark)
Wally Cole platter
Wally Cole platter (mark)
Yellow Rye jug
Yellow Rye jug (mark)

Rye Pottery

The name 'Rye Pottery' can be applied to ceramics produced in the small Sussex town of Rye and the surrounding area.

Pottery has been produced in Rye since mediaeval times, but what is now known as Rye pottery was started at Cadborough near the end of the eighteenth century. Cadborough established the design that is now recognized as traditional for Rye pottery - applied sprigs of hops and hop leaves on pots made from local clay with a lead glaze.

In the second half of the nineteenth century the Bellevue Pottery opened In Rye, and by 1890 the Cadborough Pottery had run out of family members to keep it going, and was swallowed by the thriving Bellvue Pottery. Bellvue was run by Frederick Mitchell until his death in 1875 and by his wife, Caroline, until Frederick Thomas Mitchell, their son, took over in the last decade of the nineteenth century.

After the turn of the nineteenth century the company ventured into more ambitious styles, including lustre glazes.

Sussex Art Pottery business card

A business card from the early 1930s

By the 20's and 30s they were producing the Jazz and Deco designs that were popular at the time. The pottery was owned by Edith Mitchell, Frederick's widow, from 1920 to 1930 and by Ella Mills from then to the outbreak of the second World War. During the tenure of these two ladies the pottery's name changed several times, being variously known as Rye Art Pottery, Sussex Art Pottery, Sussex Rustic Ware and Sussex Art Ware. After the outbreak of the Second World War the pottery had to close down due to wartime restrictions on kilns being fired during the hours of darkness.

After the war the premises were bought by two young sculptors - the brothers Wally and Jack Cole, who renamed the company 'Rye Pottery'. They moved away from the traditional designs and produced high quality majolica in the styles of the fifties. They trained many apprentices, and most of them eventually left to set up their own potteries in Rye. At one time there were no less than eight individual potteries in the tiny town, making it an important centre for the trade.

One of those apprentices, David Sharp (b1932-d1993), was to become a leading figure with a large following of collectors. He made very varied and original designs, some of which were quite controversial. The David Sharp Pottery continues today, run by his family and making good pieces in interesting designs. A well known activity of the pottery is the making of number or name plaques for houses, usually circular or oval, that are a distinctive feature of most of the houses in Rye and are shipped to all corners of the world.

Denis Townsend is also an ex-Rye Pottery apprentice. He is know for work of very high quality, and his company, Iden Pottery, produced domestic wares for some of the most select retailers throughout the world.

There is an active collectors' club devoted to Rye Pottery - The Potteries of Rye Society. If you are interested in joining, call Barry Buckton on +44 (0)1233 647898, or contact us at the Pottery Studio and we will pass your details on to Barry.


Further Reading:
The Potteries of Rye, 1793 onwards by Carol Cashmore


 
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