Search Results for: Stoke-on-Trent - Page 1 of 7

The online catalogue does not include details of all our collections. Contact us for further information on collections not yet featured online.

Stoke-on-Trent School of Art and Apprentice Ceramics: Talking Treasures

Did you know that once upon a time each of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns boasted its own school of art? Assistant Curator of Ceramics Ben Miller introduces us to those schools with a selection of student and apprentice pieces.

Talking Treasures: Stoke-on-Trent Hospitality Wares

Join Assistant Curator of Ceramics Ben Miller for an insight into hospitality wares made in Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent Young Archaeologists’ Club

PLEASE NOTE – our membership is fully subscribed, but get in touch if your child would like to be put on our waiting list.

We are looking for Volunteer Assistants to join us in running Stoke-on-Trent YAC. Find out more.

Stoke-on-Trent YAC is open to everyone aged 8–16 years. YAC clubs get involved in all sorts of activities, including visiting and investigating archaeological sites and historic places, trying out traditional crafts, taking part in excavations, and lots more.

Stoke-on-Trent YAC is based at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The club usually meets once a month. It is an affiliated club of the YAC network, and is run by staff and volunteers at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, which is run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Membership currently costs £24.00 per year and renews each January.

If you’d like to get involved with Stoke-on-Trent YAC, or find out more about how the club is run, get in touch with the team using the details below:

Contact: Joe Perry (Curator of Local History)
Tel: 01782 232539
Email:

You can find out more about Stoke-on-Trent YAC, and other branches, on the YAC website.

Getting a Lift – Potty Science Club

Hello and welcome to the seventh session of Potty Science Club. We hope you have found our previous experiments interesting and enjoyable.

All our experiments are conducted in a home environment, not in a lab, and will be safe and simple using equipment and items you can find in your own home. The experiments will reflect on an item or exhibit held in the Museum’s collections.

The museum’s largest exhibit recently returned to Stoke-on-Trent – Spitfire RW388. The Spitfire is one of the most famous fighter airplanes in history. The Spitfire’s famously shaped wing is elliptical, with the thinnest possible cross-section and its sunken rivets gave the airplane a much faster top speed than most other fighter airplanes of that time. The special wings also made the Spitfire one of the most manoeuvrable in the sky, giving them the advantage in one-on-one battles.

But how does an airplane fly?

Thrust from an engine allows the plane to move forward, and the fast forward movement creates airflow around the wings.  An airplanes wing is shaped into an aerofoil which looks a bit like a teardrop, Its curved on the top and flat on the underside. The curved top forces the air to move faster and fast-moving air has a lower air pressure – this is known as Bernoulli’s principle. Lift is also created by high pressure under the wing if it is tilted up into the wind – this why planes with flat wings can fly, and why some planes can fly upside down.

 The higher pressure below the wing pushes the wing upward lifting the airplane into the sky.                                  

It would be difficult to demonstrate flight in your home environment, but we can demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle of changing air pressure and achieving lift through a very simple experiment.

All you need for this experiment is a strip of paper, and lung power.

First, hold the edge of the paper below your bottom lip so it hangs like a tongue, and blow hard over the top of the paper.

By blowing across the top of the paper you are lowering the air pressure, the higher air pressure below pushes upwards producing lift, so the paper rises upward.

Simple really!

By Rob Gagliano, Casual Learning Development Leader and Natural Science Collections Volunteer

Spitfire RW388 Returns

Last week saw Spitfire RW388 return to the museum after more than 3 years away at the workshops of Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Ltd. The aeroplane arrived in four main pieces: fuselage, tail and the two wings. Each was craned onto the new cafe terrace and wheeled into the building, under the careful supervision of a team from the RAF Museum. The same team spent the remainder of the week reassembling RW388 in the new gallery.

We’ve now got the task of installing the exhibition around the Spitfire, to be ready to open in September 2021.

In the meantime, check out the video below for some of the highlights of the day the Spitfire returned to Stoke-on-Trent.

“Conjugal Felicity”, a mother’s love, and Mr Fletcher

The phrase ‘Conjugal Felicity’ is not one that is widely used today but its meaning – A Happy Marriage – is still relevant. The engraving on this creamware jug of c.1798 shows an idealised happy marriage with a fashionably-dressed husband and wife surrounded by their three children: a young boy holding his hoop while his younger brother or sister sits on his mother’s knee, and the baby sleeps soundly in its cot. 

The idea of domestic happiness, with both parents taking an active interest in the development of their young children, was greatly influenced by the publications of the French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, who urged mothers to nurse their own children, rather than employing wet-nurses, and to superintend their nursery themselves, rather than relying on servants to do so.

The firm of Thomas Fletcher & Co. was in business from c.1796-1800

The print is signed at the bottom ‘Thos. Fletcher & Co., Shelton’ and was produced by Thomas Fletcher (1762-1802) who had an extensive business decorating pottery in the late 18th century and was described as a ‘pot printer’ when he bought land in Shelton in 1789. In the 1790s he was involved in various short-lived partnerships as a ‘black-printer’, that is printing decoration over the glaze, usually in black from copper plates, as with this jug. Although he was occasionally described as a ‘manufacturer’ he probably bought-in many of the pieces that he decorated as blanks from other pottery firms.

Shortly before Fletcher died in 1802, his collection of over 450 “well-selected copper plates of most approved patterns, some new” were advertised for sale in the Staffordshire Advertiser.

Staffordshire Advertiser 30th August 1800

Despite this advertisement the copper plates weren’t finally disposed of until 1807 when Fletcher’s “House, workhouse, two warehouses, printing and painting shops and other appendages necessary for carrying on the business of Enamelling, Printing, situated near the New Hall manufactory at Shelton” were auctioned. The location of his business was in the upper part of Shelton, in what would now be described as part of the town of Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Fletcher was not necessarily an engraver himself, but either employed engravers to work for him or bought designs from independent engravers. Comparatively few of these printed designs were original: with little or no effective copyright protection they were largely adapted from existing prints which were then re-engraved onto sheets of copper, ready for use by pottery printers. Pottery engravers didn’t have to go far to find inspiration as local booksellers and stationers stocked suitable images to use:

Staffordshire Advertiser 8th January 1814

Subjects like this one of a happy family were popular with the potters’ customers, as were idealised images of childhood and courtship, and many of Fletcher’s 450 “well-selected copper plates” would have been of a similarly sentimental nature

Creamware jug printed over the glaze in black by Thomas Fletcher & Co. , Shelton.
Unknown manufacturer, c.1798

Talking Treasures: Hulton Abbey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUZV-jPJMTg

Settle down with a cuppa and join Curator of Local History Joe Perry for a look at one of Stoke-on-Trent’s major historic sites – Hulton Abbey.

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872

17/10/2020 – 22/08/2021

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872
This exhibition displays images of China taken by the Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921). Born in Edinburgh two years before the invention of the daguerreotype and the birth of photography, Thomson first travelled to Asia in 1862, where he set up a professional photographic studio. Fascinated by local cultures, Thomson returned in 1868 and settled in Hong Kong. Over the next four years he made extensive trips to Guangdong, Fujian, Beijing, China’s north-east and down the great river Yangzi. This exhibition is drawn from his time in these regions and also includes objects from the museum’s decorative arts and ceramic collections. By the time of Thomson’s travels, certain motifs and stories associated with long life had become well-established themes in the arts in China. Several of these themes are represented in the exhibition, including immortals and mythological figures inspired by Buddhism, Daoism and Chinese mythology.

Thomson’s ground-breaking work in China established him as a serious pioneer of photojournalism and one of the most influential photographers of his generation. This exhibition seeks to show the great diversity of the photographs that Thomson took in China. What marked his work as special was the desire to present a faithful account of China and its people. Thomson wanted to show his audience the human aspects of life in China through his extensive record of everyday street scenes – rarely captured by other photographers of that era.

A five minute tour of the exhibition, China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872 at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery from 17th October 2020 – 16th May 2021.

This internationally acclaimed touring exhibition of photographic prints made from the original 19th-century glass negatives from the renowned collections at the Wellcome Library, London has been seen by almost a million visitors in 24 cities around the world including Beijing, Hong Kong, Washington DC, Dublin, Stockholm. This 5 minute tour of the exhibition offers an overview of the beautiful and sensitive photography of the 19th-century pioneer Scottish photo-journalist, John Thomson (1837-1921). Thomson’s photographs are complemented by a display of Chinese artefacts selected from the museums’ own collections; these include 18th and 19th-century jade and ivory carvings, embroidered textiles and ceramics.

An introduction to the exhibition, China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872 with Arts Curator, Samantha Howard.

Thomson’s photographs capture a rare moment in time and place – the long-lost world of 19th-century Imperial China. Thomson made extensive trips to Guangdong, Fujian, Beijing, China’s north-east and down the great river Yangzi. The exhibition is drawn from Thomson’s travels in these regions. People from all works of life, rarely captured by other photographers of that era, are represented here: the young and the old, from the street sellers and soldiers, to powerful Mandarin bureaucrats and shy brides, pose before backdrops of streets, back yards and gardens, palaces and pagodas.

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872 – symbolic themes in ivory and jade objects.

By the time of Thomson’s travels, certain motifs and stories associated with long life had become well-established themes in the arts in China. Several of these themes are represented in the exhibition, including immortals and mythological figures inspired by Buddhism, Daoism and Chinese mythology. Join Arts Curator, Samantha Howard, for a bite-size talk about the representation of Shou Xing, the Daoist God of Longevity.

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872 – Chinese ceramics in the exhibition with Ceramics Curator, Miranda Goodby

An introduction to some of the Chinese ceramics from the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery’s collection displayed in the exhibition, with a brief look at their impact on British pottery makers from the 18th century onwards. The Chinese wares include those made for export to the West as well as some examples made for the Chinese market.

China: Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872 – Minton pottery in the exhibition with Ceramics Curator, Miranda Goodby

In the 1870s the Minton factory of Stoke-on-Trent produced a large number of decorative pieces inspired by Chinese metalwork, including cloisonné. This film looks at some of these pieces in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery’s collection, several of which were made for the International Exhibitions of the period, and some of which were donated to the museum by the Minton firm.

January Sale

Grab yourself a bargain!enjoy 20% savings on Anita Harris and Carole Glover pottery, and 30% off all of our Seasonal Gift items in our online Foyer Shop from January 4th until January 17th. Please call 01782 232323 or email for more information.

PLEASE NOTE – in line with new government guidelines we are currently only able to offer postal orders from the Foyer Shop.

Anita Harris – 20% off all these listed prices

Carole Glover – 20% off all these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

Seasonal Gifts – 30% off all of these listed prices

22. He’ll be coming down the chimney when he comes

The range of ceramic production in Stoke-on-Trent is as broad as anywhere in the world. Over the years it seems the imagination was the only limiting factor to what pottery manufacturers were willing to produce. In particular, teapots have been subjected to all manner of weird and wonderful shapes and decoration. Manufacturers of novelty teapots included Sadler, Price and Kensington and Carlton, the makers of this teapot, moulded in the form of Santa Claus appearing from the top of a chimney.

Santa Claus first slid down the chimney in a 1812 book by Washington Irving. The name Santa Claus is an Americanised version of the abbreviated Dutch name for St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, the 4th-century Bishop of Myra, an ancient town in what is now Turkey. In the most famous tale involving St. Nicholas, the bishop anonymously delivers bags of gold to a poor family, often dropping the gold down the chimney. In 1809, Washington Irving helped spark an interest in St. Nicholas when he featured the saint in his satirical Knickerbocker’s History of New York. In an expanded version of Knickerbocker’s published in 1812, Irving added a reference—the first known—to St. Nicholas “rattl[ing] down the chimney” himself, rather than simply dropping the presents down. However, It was the famous poem, published anonymously in 1823, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”—known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”—that popularised the idea of Santa Claus tumbling down the chimney.

Despite the shifts in household heating; moving from open fires to stoves and to central heating Santa Clause’s ability to ensure that presents are left at the homes of each good little boy and girl has remained. Whether through a window or door, with his magic key, no children need worry about the possibility of a Christmas day without presents from Santa Claus. As with most fashions the trends of yesteryear return and the current fashion for an open fire or stove has meant that many homes have reverted back to using their chimneys. This is good news for Santa who once his works on Christmas Eve is done can look forward to a nice cup of tea (from a Stoke-on-Trent teapot, of course).