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BEST KNOWN LEEDS PATTERNS
Blue transfer printing was made after 1790. The blue printed Willow pattern is the best known. Most pieces of Leeds Pottery Willow are marked. There are several variations in the design, but the darker print is the earlier.
The later light-blue or lilac print is inferior in body. Green, brow-n, and black was also used, and the Chinese Tower or Pagoda pattern was made about 1825. About 1820 children's plates and mugs were printed with maxims from Dr. Watts and Franklin, scripture subjects, and lines from Dillworth's book Reading Made Easy.
However, it was in the making of creamware with pierced designs and perforated borders that Leeds Pottery excelled all others, including Wedgwood. The openwork diamonds, hearts, ovals, and squares were hand punched. These lacelike piercings were especially fine in the large centerpieces, fruit baskets, chestnut bowls, cruets, and candelabra.
The pierced centerpieces are built up in three tiers of shells and baskets supported by dolphins, figures such as Pomona, Ceres, or Flora, and ornamental brackets. Chestnut bowls or tureens were set on stands and had ladles and a typical Leeds flower knob or finial.
Urns on pedestals are decorated with fluting and molded decoration in the form of human figures or goats' heads and drapery and swags of husks in the style of Adam. The finials were pineapple-shaped. Cruet stands holding pepper and other condiment castors with pierced tops sometimes had the names painted on in blue. Fruit baskets had pierced designs or basket-weave patterns and twisted or braided handles ending in a molded leaf or leaf and flower. Small leaf-shaped dishes and large covered melonshaped dishes with flutings and molded leaf decorations are other wellknown pieces of Leeds cream-colored ware. Another large piece was the cistern for water which was urn-shaped. Candlesticks were fluted columns on square bases; sometimes a Grecian figure serves as a column for a candlestick. Fluting, molded decorations, and perforations are found on candlesticks and more elaborate candelabra such as the vase candelabrum. Several types of vases for flowers (including the quintal flower horn vases) were also made. Inkstands, puzzle jugs, frog mugs, and figures were also made in creamware. The rare figures included Hygeia; Andromache; a boy with a dog; a market woman; Cupid; a lamb; a woman playing a guitar; a man with a tambourine; Wesley; Shakespeare; a warrior on a horse; and a foxhead stirrup cup. A small pottery house with crude painted decoration is marked with the impressed "Leeds Pottery." And a creamware puzzle jug has the mark "Leeds Pottery" and the impressed verse:
Gentlemen come try your skill I'll Hould you sixpence if you will,You cannot drink unless you spill.
Creamware dessert services included the elaborate centerpieces, fruit baskets, and plates. Dinner services, a little thicker, had plates made with Royal, Queens, shell, and feather edges. These plates were plain or with perforated borders. The dinnerware was made plain but could be ordered with crests and red lines on the edge or with laurel-wreath or other painted borders. Cups and saucers are rare today, but were made in several shapes both with and without twisted handles. Leaf-shaped dishes had molded decoration and sometimes blue shell edges.
Teapots and coffeepots have plain or fluted bodies, plain or twisted handles, a round or a flower knob, and a curved spout with embossed acanthus leaf. Some round teapots have a pierced border at the top. Creamware with vertical stripes of green on the cream was early and was made by Wedgwood as well as Leeds Pottery.
Around 1800 and later Leeds Pottery also made agate, tortoise-shell, and Mocha ware. The pieces included mugs of several sizes, jugs, spill vases, covered bowls and pepper pots, and mustard jars. They may also have made tea sets. The characteristic beaded edge is found on these wares, but handles and finials are usually plain and the pottery is heavy. At about this same date, various types of lusterware was also made at Leeds. Goblets, mugs, and jugs were the most common pieces. Some were made with handpainted names and dates. Luster borders enclosing transfer-printed classical scenes were also popular. Silver, silver-resist patterns, gold, copper, and purple luster were made from about 1790 to 1825. The early Leeds lusterware was made over a brown pottery surface, the later over a creamcolored base.
Leeds Pottery also made black basalt ware from about 1780 to 1820. Tea and coffee services, including cups and saucers, teapots, milk jugs, tea canisters, coffeepots, slop and sugar basins, were made in a variety of pat terns, with bas-reliefs of classic figures, the strawberry pattern, and engine-turned geometric patterns. This ware varies from other Leeds ware in shape and other characteristics. The handles are plain and the finials of tea and coffeepots are of seated figures, swans, or a flower. The strawberry pattern, which has heavy gadroon borders, imitates the shape and contour of silver services then popular, and was also made in silver luster. When marked, Leeds black basalt ware is impressed "Leeds Pottery" or "Hartley, Greens & Co, Leeds Pottery," usually under the spout or handle.
Although Leeds Pottery did a thriving business, much of the pottery sold as Leeds today is not Leeds. Few pieces are marked, and to judge an unmarked piece we must carefully check the weight, glaze, handles, finials, and general shape as well as the type of decoration. Blue and green shellor featheredge creamware was made by all potteries, so it is incorrect to call it Leeds or even Leeds type, although of course some was also made by Leeds Pottery. It is also incorrect to call all old Mocha ware "Leeds," although some of the best was probably made at Leeds Pottery.
The Swinton and Don Potteries were also owned by Leeds Pottery; and Ferrybridge, Hunsle Hall, Rothwell Pottery, Swansea, Castleford, and Wedgwood also made similar creamware. The Castleford catalogue in the Metropolitan Museum may be compared with that of Leeds Pottery if one has any doubt as to the similarity of the shapes and decoration. Castleford pottery made many pieces of creamware that are identical in design with those made at Leeds Pottery; and the familiar sectional teapot of sandy texture with lines of blue, which means Castleford to most people, was also made by Leeds. Indeed the Castleford pattern catalogue which was put out in 1796 has so many designs identical with the Leeds Pottery catalogue designs of 1783 that it would seem that the two factories might have had a connection. Some of the hand-painted work is also similar. The handpainted blue or black scalloped lines, lacework, and sprigs of flowers may also be found on Bristol and Liverpool creamware of the same date. The title page of the Leeds Pottery catalogue of 1783 reads:
Designs of Sundry Articles of Queen's or Cream colour'd Earthen-Ware manufactured by Hartley, Greens & Co: at Leeds Potters- with a great variety of other articles. The same Enamell'd, Printed or Ornamented with gold to any pattern; also with Coats of Arms, Cyphers, Landscapes, etc. etc.