Bell Works
Miscellaneous table wares

This page records various patterns where the backstamp includes the letters "WR" and which don't fit the established shape sets. William Ridgway is recorded as experimenting at the Bell Works between his first and second bankruptcies. Some of the shapes may come from that period of experiment. They may also belong to another potter, or a retailer, or a customer, with the initials WR not yet identified.

 

William Ridgway

'Willow'

"Neva"

"Canton"

 

'Willow'

There is evidence that William Ridgway produced a version of 'Willow' pattern, but at the Church Works under William Ridgway & Co. The later Bedford Works firm stated on the backstamp that their "Willow" was produced from printing plates made in 1832 by William Ridgway & Co. But this dish is marked with "WR" alone, so should be a Bell Works product, if it has anything to do with William Ridgway at all. There is reason to believe that E. J. Ridgway bought up at least some of the Bell Works printing plates in the sale of the contents of the works in May 1855, so the Bedford Works backstamp may simply be the result of error by the later partnership.

The meat dish is 404mm long and 317mm wide. Earthenware.

Willow meat dish front

Willow meat dish back

Willow meat dish backstamp

Photos © Angela Grant 2019

 

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"Neva"

This pattern has more affinity with the polygonal wares produced at Cauldon Place, than anything produced at the Bell Works. It is known that John Ridgway supported his brother whilst at the Bell Works between his two bankruptcies, so it might have been made at Cauldon Place on William's behalf. The impressed mark is, however, otherwise unknown at any of the Ridgway factories, so far as I am aware.

The decagonal soup plate is 10.25 inches in diameter. Earthenware.

Neva dinner plate front

Neva dinner plate back

Neva dinner plate marks

Neva dinner plate impressed mark

The impressed mark reads "QUARTZ CHINA". I have not seen this mark elsewhere.

Photos © Tommy Cheatham 2019

 

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"Canton"

This pattern appears to copy the Charles James Mason 'Canton' centre print with one of the borders associated with it. The shape also seems more reminiscent of the original Mason's factory moulds. The Mason's moulds and printing plates were purchased by William Ridgway's son-in-law Francis Morley in 1848. Did Morley produce this pattern at the Broad Street Works to help his father-in-law out between his two bankruptcies?

The soup plate is 270mm in diameter. Earthenware.

Canton plate front

Canton plate back

Canton plate backstamp

Photos © Tommy Cheatham 2019

 

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