By Val Baynton
(Shire, Paperback, 9780747811008, 64pp.)
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
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Beswick is typical of the numerous small scale ceramic factories founded towards the end of the Victorian era and manufacturing through the first two thirds of the 20th century. Like many of these companies Beswick produced a mix of tableware and sculptural ceramics adjusting its designs to take account of the trends of each decade. However the company is atypical by the very fact of its survival - in spite of the many upheavals which have transformed the ceramic industry during the latter part of the 20th century. Its story is one of evolution from a traditional Victorian Pottery to a 21st century brand.
Founded in 1894 by James Wright Beswick, Beswick passed through three generations of family ownership before becoming part of Royal Doulton in 1969 and is now independently owned. As owners and collectors of its products will testify, Beswick aimed, and still aims today, to produce well made ceramics at affordable prices; wares which could be used daily in the home as well as decorative ornaments for animal lovers of all ages to cherish. In this volume Val Baynton explores the diversity of products revealing that far more than horses - for which Beswick was so justifiably famous - were made. Wares are placed in context with the company history and information on important sculptors and designers is also included.
Val Baynton lives near Stoke-on-Trent and is a former curator for Royal Doulton. She has made various appearances on both television and radio with her knowledge of both ceramics and glass.