William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design - cover image


Jonathan Mallinson

Published On





  • English

Print Length

412 pages (xiv+398)


Paperback178 x 29 x 254 mm(7.01" x 1.14" x 10")
Hardback178 x 32 x 254 mm(7.01" x 1.26" x 10")


Paperback964g (34.00oz)
Hardback1186g (41.83oz)



OCLC Number





  • WFN
  • AFT
  • AKP
  • AGA


  • AFP
  • WFN
  • AFT
  • AK
  • HBTB
  • HBLW


  • CRA028000
  • DES003000
  • DES009000
  • ART015100


  • NK4210.M624


  • art
  • Arts and Crafts
  • biography
  • cultural history
  • decorative arts
  • industry
  • Moorcroft
  • pottery
  • production

William Moorcroft, Potter

Individuality by Design

  • Jonathan Mallinson (author)
William Moorcroft (1872-1945) was one of the most celebrated potters of the early twentieth century. His career extended from the Arts and Crafts movement of the late Victorian age to the Austerity aesthetics of the Second World War. Rejecting mass production and patronised by Royalty, Moorcroft’s work was a synthesis of studio and factory, art and industry. He considered it his vocation to create an everyday art, both functional and decorative, affordable by more than a privileged few: ‘If only the people in the world would concentrate upon making all things beautiful, and if all people concentrated on developing the arts of Peace, what a world it might be,’ he wrote in a letter to his daughter in 1930.

'William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design' is a pioneering study by Jonathan Mallinson, Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. It follows the career of William Moorcroft through a wealth of private papers, letters and diaries, business correspondence and published reviews in newspapers, trade magazines and art journals. Richly illustrated with examples of his pottery, it explores what lay behind the unique impact of work sought by museums and treasured in homes the world over. The book examines an artist’s very individual response to the turbulent half century in which he worked. It will appeal to both specialists and general readers with an interest in pottery, the decorative arts, and the cultural history of the times.


This comprehensive, scholarly and multi-disciplinary life of the great Stoke-on-Trent potter William Moorcroft offers us a new account of design, ceramic production, and international aesthetics in the first half of the twentieth century. By approaching Moorcroft as an inheritor of the William Morris tradition, Mallinson’s work successfully explores the tension between art pottery and industrial design – and Moorcroft’s pioneering role within both traditions between the wars. From Buckingham Palace to Liberty’s, from the Royal Academy to the New York World’s Fair, Moorcroft was a global figure of design excellence, whose place within modernism, ceramic art and the history of the Potteries has now been so compellingly told.’

Dr Tristram Hunt

Director, Victoria and Albert Museum


Jonathan Mallinson, a collector and Emeritus Fellow at Trinity College Oxford, has released William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design as a free publication via Open Book Publishers. It was developed with several dealers including AD Antiques, Andrew Muir, Rumours Decorative Arts and Wayne Hopton. Mallinson says: “This book was inspired by a small wartime pomegranate vase seen at an antiques centre. It sparked an interest in William Moorcroft’s pottery which was greatly developed by conversations with some of the leading decorative arts dealers of the last two decades.” He undertook further research in the National Art Library and in the Stoke-on-Trent City Archives where Moorcroft’s archive is held. The dealers consulted also contributed many of the illustrations. Mallinson adds: “Such is the incomparable benefit of fairs, and the personal interaction they make possible; the exchange of knowledge is as valuable as the trade in pots.”

"Moorcroft for free". Antiques Trade Gazette, 2023.

Additional Resources

[video]Online Book Launch: 'William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design'

OBP presents a conversation with Jonathan Mallinson, author of 'William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design'.

[document]Image Portfolio of the work of contemporary potters and ceramic designers(Jonathan Mallinson)

This portfolio includes examples from some of the larger art pottery producers of the time (Doulton Lambeth, Minton, Wedgwood, Pilkington), independent potteries (Linthorpe, Della Robbia), individual artist potters or glaze chemists (William de Morgan, Bernard Moore, Edmund Elton, William Howson Taylor), studio potters (Michael Cardew, Bernard Leach, William Staite Murray, Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, Reginald Wells), and commercial designers (Truda Carter, Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Keith Murray, Charlotte Rhead, Eric Slater).

[document]Published reviews and articles on the pottery of William Moorcroft(Jonathan Mallinson)

A selection of critical notices published in the UK, US, Canada and France, covering the whole of Moorcroft’s career.

[document]Miscellaneous published and unpublished writings on pottery(Jonathan Mallinson)

A selection of Moorcroft’s writings on pottery, including letters and articles published in national newspapers, trade magazines and art journals, as well as handwritten notes and drafts of private correspondence.


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Jonathan Mallinson

Emeritus Professor of French at University of Oxford

Jonathan Mallinson is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern French Literature and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. He has written extensively on prose fiction, comedy and satire of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and has edited works by Molière, Voltaire and Graffigny. His interest in British art pottery and its reception dates back many years.