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No pottery with a pedigree like that of Moorcroft has survived into the 21st century. Small, fiercely independent and with a select studio of top designers, Moorcroft pottery uses the labour-intensive techniques of slip-trailing and tubelining, which gives each piece a raised effect that highlights elements of the design. While many of the shapes are traditional - indeed unchanged for over a hundred years - Moorcroft's designers are young, vibrant and among the best in the world. Their inspiration and styles are wide ranging and intriguing, and it's this combination of old and new, along with the sheer quality of Moorcroft's production, that has insured its survival at a time when many British ceramics companies have disappeared.
William Moorcroft was originally a young potter and designer who had a studio within a larger ceramic company, James Macintyre & Co. The designs of the 24-year-old William Moorcroft, who personalised each piece of pottery he produced with his own signature or initials, became extremely popular. William Moorcroft's pottery eventually became more sought after than that of James Macintyre, and in 1912 the inevitable split occurred. William marched his workforce across Cobridge Park to a new factory in Sandbach Road where Moorcroft pottery is still made today. Financial backing came from Liberty, the famous London store and Liberty continued to control Moorcroft until 1962. In 1904, Moorcroft won a gold medal at the St Louis International Exhibition and followed up the achievement with further medals and commendations, culminating in the appointment of the Moorcroft company as Potter to HM The Queen in 1928.
William Moorcroft's son Walter took over the business and designed some of the company's most famous pieces. In 1962 Walter's brother John joined the company, but following the economic downturn of the 1980s the company was sold to a private group run by S&R Dennis, M&H Edwards, who continued the Moorcroft tradition and greatly expanded the range of pots. Currently controlled by Hugh Edwards, the company has seen massive investment in new design while retaining the quality and style that have made Moorcroft pottery collectors' items.
In 1993 Rachel Bishop joined Moorcroft at the age of 24. She was only the fourth designer at Moorcroft in a hundred years, and her years at the company marked the beginning of its renaissance. Today Rachel is Moorcroft's Senior Designer. While the full-time design studio has just four artists, Moorcroft also use designs from other artists from within the company, principally those who have worked as tubeliners and painters.