Adams Pottery was an English pottery manufacturer which produced goods for over 300 years.
Brief History and Description
John Adams set up Adams China. He initially set up a pottery and ceramic house in Staffordshire, Britain, which later came to be known as the Brick House Works sometime during the 17th century. During the preliminary years, Adams Pottery focused on recreating models that were brought in from the Far East. The English were fascinated by the oriental floral and geometric designs.
The whole pottery market changed after Adams came up with his ironstone formula. It was an instant success overtaking the then popular earthenware market. The ironstone’s popularity continued to increase so much so that Adams Pottery focused only on making white ironstone, pottery and cookware. Late into the eighteenth century, 1779 to be exact, the son of John Adams, William Adams opened the Greengates factory in Tunstall, England, which remained their main location until it closed sometime during the 1990s.
Continuing in its tradition of quality and experimentation, Adams Pottery developed Microtex, a more durable form of their ironstone formula.
The control of Adams Pottery shifted to the Wedgwood Group on 1st January, 1966. Wedgwood’s initial idea was to convert the Adams factory for the making of giftware. However, this move was unprofitable and the company shifted to making hotelware, which although profitable initially, became unprofitable later on. Finally the Greengates factory was closed down for good by Wedgwood in 1992. After its closing, somebody set fire to the factory and razed it to the ground.
Guide for Collectors
Despite the fact that Adams Pottery has long since closed, their products are still popular. The backstamp ‘William Adams and Sons, Ltd.,’ was a popular backstamp used by the Adams Company during the nineteenth century. Many of their popular products carried this backstamp.
Using this name, they developed many of their bestselling shapes, that included Crown, Elgin and Impress. This also included the Ceres shape, a design that featured an embossed wheat insignia. Ceres was the Goddess of wheat and grain and she symbolized fruit, flowers and motherly love. Adams was also influenced by the Neoclassical movement which highlights interest in the philosophies of ancient Rome and Greece.
William Adams was also influenced by Josiah Wedgwood and this influence led William to experiment with multiple clay formulas so as to develop strong and durable pottery prototypes. Replacements, Ltd. carries many of Adams “Microtex” patterns that included Florida, Bluebell and Empress. Most of Adams most popular patterns, that include Lancaster, Signapore Bird, and Lowestoft can also be found at Replacements, Ltd.
Notable Auction Sales
A 1928 John Adams Chinese type, blue glazed ginger jar and cover was auctioned off for a premium price of £1,016 (more than five times its estimated price of £200) at Christie’s, London on 31st March, 2004.
A 1900 Adams Pottery 'Chinese Bird' pattern part blue and white tea-coffee service was auctioned off for a premium price of £813 (nearly double its estimated price) at Christie’s, London on 29th October, 2009. The item came from the Manolo March Collection from Son Galceran, Mallorca.
A 1930 John Adams Chinese type vase was auctioned off for a premium price of £574 (nearly double its estimated price) at Christie’s, London on 31st March, 2004.
A 1930 John Adams high fired Chinese type vase was auctioned off for a premium price of £418 (nearly double its estimated price) at Christie’s, London on 31st March, 2004.
An early 19th century Adams Pottery, Pearlware blue and white shaped oval dish was auctioned off for a premium price of £125 at Christie’s, London on 4th June, 2008. The item came from The Charles Plante Collection.