Alexander Lauder, born 1836, was head teacher at Barnstaple School of Art when C H Brannam was a pupil. At the age of forty he set up Lauder and Smith with his brother-in-law W O Smith near Barnstaple, Devon. The company made bricks, tiles and terracotta pots, and experimented with art pottery. The experiments were mainly unsuccessful due to the unsuitability of the red clay.
Around the end of the 1880s Lauder became the sole proprietor. This coincided with the bankruptcy of the Marland Brick and Tile Works, which Lauder bought. The clay beds at the brick and tile works provided much better body clay, and the company's fortunes, which had not been brilliant, took a turn for the better.
In 1890 Lauder changed the company name to the Royal Devon Art Pottery, when they received royal patronage. The company flourished through the turn of the century, making slip and sgraffito decorated pots mainly with designs inspired by the world of nature. Towards the end of the century's second decade, though, they closed - some say due to the loss of skilled labour in the second world war and some say due to the intense competition from Brannam, Lauder's ex-pupil. Alexander Lauder died in 1921.
|Art Potters of Barnstaple by Audrey Edgeler|