Oodles of Gloppy Pottery

Oodles of Gloppy Pottery

We made it back up the Severn as far as Worcester before the rain started today, so we moored up in a swan sanctuary. Yep, that’s right, Worcester seems to be a sanctuary city for the fascists of the waterways. What’s next, political asylum for Canada geese? We saw someone feeding the swans an entire sack of swan kibble. No wonder the river here is infested with them. Don’t the recognize the dangers of swan attack?
Swan Attack
There’s a reason nobody goes skinny dipping in the Severn any more.

The pot with that cautionary tale on is from the Royal Worcester Museum, which celebrates Worcester’s two hundred and fifty year history of making gloppy pottery. This is a multi level pickle stand with a seashell motif.
Gloppy pottery
Goodness knows how we managed to survive as long as we have without his and hers asparagus racks.
Asparagus rack

This is Admiral Lord Nelson’s personal teapot.
Nelson Teapot
There’s no way he could have won the Battle of Trafalgar if he’d had his morning cuppa from an ordinary teapot, now is there?

This teapot, on the other hand, was intended to make fun of Oscar Wilde and the aesthetic movement.
Oscar Wilde Teapot

As you may well be aware, Paula needs about half a liter of string tea to coax her out of bed in the morning, and now has tea mugs that big in three countries. However, even she was outdone by Lord Nevill, the Marquis of Abergavenny, who in 1813 paid a staggering £42 (about a year’s wages for a male factory worker) for a pair of huge mugs with boobs on them.
Mug with boobs

Obviously he needed help getting up in the morning.

I think every plate needs piles of ceramic sea shells all over it, don’t you?
Plate with sea shells
It makes it so much more interesting for the servants to wash up.

This pot was exhibited at the Chicago Exhibition in 1983. The 5,000 holes in it were all cut by hand before the pot was fired.
Pot with holes

The piece that I liked least was the bespoke plate with the achievement of arms on it featuring black people in chains as supporters.
Though to be fair, Royal Worcester was an equal opportunity ceramics company, and would happily make bespoke tableware for Nabobs and Maharajas as well as racist imperialists, so long as they had absurd amounts of money to spend.

OK, here’s a Victorian piece I actually liked.
Victorian Plate

Royal Worcester outsourced their production to countries where labour was cheaper in the early 21st century, and went into bankruptcy a few years later. The brand was bought by the Portmeirion Group, which in spite of the name is based in Stoke-on-Trent rather than the charming Welsh village where The Prisoner was filmed. There is just the museum and the sign over the old factory door left in Worcester.
Royal Worcester sign

2 thoughts on “Oodles of Gloppy Pottery

  1. While we were crossing the bridge over the Avon on the way to the station on Friday evening in the rain, there was a truly Hitchcockian scene with all the swans in Wychavon on the water to one side and all the Canada geese massed on the bank on the other. They were looking so ready to rumble you could have cut the tension with a casually twirled switchblade. We made ourselves scarce before they started looking at one another’s hens the wrong way.

  2. Aagh! Enough hideous pottery, no more please. I always walk swiftly through the pottery room in the Fitzwilliam with my hands held up as blinkers. It’s a bit like the vile perfume dept in airports, you have to go through it, no escape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *