Crown Devon (S Fielding & Co)
In the late 19th century, Simon Fielding began his family's interest in the pottery industry by investing in the Railway Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. In 1878, to save his father's investment, Abraham Fielding had to buy it. He turned round this failing business and by 1906 when Simon died, the Devon Pottery, as it had become known, had more than quadrupled in size.
In the 1920's & 30's, Crown Devon departed from the purely conventional (blush-tinted pale earthenwares decorated with sprays and swags of flowers) and ventured into contemporary styles from kitsch novelties to elegantly stylish coffee sets with rich gilded interiors. Like other makers they produced floral embossed tablewares, fashionable figurines and in the 1930's, rivalled the brilliantly gilded and enamelled lustre wares produced by Wiltshaw & Robinson under their 'CarltonWare' label. (Crown Devon had employed key personnel who had moved directly to them from their rival in 1930!)
Alongside the kitsch and the gorgeous, Crown Devon also marketed many interesting Art Deco shapes, often moulded to suggest incised clay and decorated with subtle, semi-matt mottled glazes - very much in the art pottery vein. Sometimes these pieces have hand-painted motifs of flowers, leaves or trees incorporated in the soft pastel coloured glazes. Occasionally designs are painted on-glaze, giving sharper definition and a brighter colour. These 'Art Pottery' pieces are the ones which we seek out.
Demolished in 1987, the factory had continued in the Fielding ownership until 1982 when it closed. They had successfully traded throughout the 1960's & 70's, (buying up Shorter & Son in 1964 and forming the Fielding Pottery Group), a time when many small potteries failed or were swallowed up by much larger industrial groups.