Jonathan Mallinson

Published On


Page Range

pp. 51–70


  • English

Print Length

20 pages

3. 1905–09: Experiment and Adversity

  • Jonathan Mallinson (author)
In the years following success at St Louis, Moorcroft’s designs began to follow two distinct paths: some appealing to the contemporary nostalgia for eighteenth-century elegance, others developing more innovative and experimental ideas. One of his most radical creations, named ‘Flamminian’ ware, reduced ornament to a simple roundel, and focussed attention on form and glaze; it was an uncompromising challenge to the swirling lines of Art Nouveau, and was a great success both at home and in the US. Reviews published in the UK, France and Canada regularly distinguished Moorcroft’s work from much art pottery, underlining the originality of his decorative technique, the quality of his colours, and the integrity of his designs. It is a mark of his growing international reputation that he was invited to write an article for the newly founded American Pottery Gazette. But even as his reputation grew, the first signs of tension with H. Watkin, Director and General Manager at Macintyre’s, can be seen between the lines of reviews in the Pottery Gazette, where Moorcroft’s name was increasingly subordinated to that of Macintyre’s. Factory Minutes show that Watkin was tabling proposals to close down Moorcroft’s department from as early as 1905, to the evident surprise of the other Directors; surviving financial documents suggest that the reason was not the unprofitability of the Ornamental ware, as Watkin would affirm.


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.