The label is almost too discoloured to read at all. We expected it to say 'Unfired colours. DO NOT WET. To Clean, brush with a stiff brush', but in fact it seems to be a message from someone who found the bottle. It goes something like this, in hand-written capitals . . .
WIN . . . J D WATTS? . . .
FOUND IN . . .
OF AN OLD CHURCH
IN WELL . . . NORFOLK?
. . . OF MANY . . .
The words in the outer ring are 'THEIR WORK WAS AS IT WERE A WHEEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHEEL' and in the inner ring 'LIMMERLEASE COMPTON'.
The Compton Potters' Arts Guild was set up by Mary Seaton Fraser Tyler Watts, wife of the famous painter George Watts. The couple had moved from London to the village of Compton in Surrey in the 1890s and Mary, finding clay deposits in the grounds of the house, started the pottery to give the poor of Compton employment. William de Morgan helped with the installation of the wood-fired kiln.
The pottery ran from 1899 to the mid-1950s, becoming a limited company in 1936. Designers were recruited from George Watts's artistic circle of friends, and many top names such as Alfred Gilbert and Archibald Knox provided designs for garden ornaments, decorative pots and utensils.
Wares were sold through Liberty, and the Guild's clientele included many eminent people.
|British Ceramic Art 1870-1940 by John A Bartlett|