Information about the 18th century Staffordshire pottery company
Ridgway Pottery was a pottery manufacturer based in Staffordshire, England.
Brief History and Description
Ridgway Pottery was one of the earliest Staffordshire potteries, founded by Ralph Ridgway during 1744. However, it was in 1792, the brothers George and Job Ridgway registered Ridgway Potteries Limited at Bell Works, North Staffordshire, England. It was here that the first type of Ridgwayware was produced.
The Ridgwayware included dessert, tea, and dinner services, and they competed with Mintonware as well as with the products from Spode, Rockingham, and Worcester. However, it was the Ridgway's high quality earthenware with blue printed designs that were extremely popular.
During 1802, the pottery works that was formed by Job Ridgway was taken over by John and William Ridgway. While John Ridgway inherited the Cauldon pottery, the Bell pottery works was taken over by William Ridgway.
It was also during the 1851 exhibition that John Ridgway received a high recommendation from Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The exhibition catalogue states that Ridgway was ‘one of the largest and among the best conducted of the many factories of Staffordshire’. John was later appointed as the official potter to the royalty. The Ridgway pottery also set up a scholarship with the School of Design and which is functional even today.
John, William Ridgway & Company continued to make attractive dishes, but not in the old blue printed designs. Ridgway Pottery later merged with the Booths & Colclough China Company during the 1940’s, and later became a part of Royal Doulton in the 1960’s.
Guide for Collectors
Melba Bone China, Malvern China, Colclough, Royal Cauldon, Royal Vale, Royal Adderley, Royal Semi Porcelain, Royal Stanley, and Portland are a few of the various tea, dinnerware and chinaware that have been produced by Ridgway. Each of these makes carry different stamps.
Between the late 1950s and late 1960s, the Ridgway's Homemaker set was a popular piece in Woolworths. However, it was during the eighties that the Homemaker set really gained popularity. There is also a chance that a collector can still pick up these classic pieces in boot sales or charity shops for a few pounds; although rare items such as cake stands and coffee pots are likely to cost more.
A tip for collectors who want to remove stains from their Ridgway collection - use Milton sterilising fluid, as most stains can be removed with this fluid. However, there are times that a difficult stain could be a defect in the glaze.
Notable Auction Sales
A Ridgway porcelain apple green-ground part dinner service was sold for a premium price of $25,000 at Christie’s, New York’s, Collection of Michael Hall auction, on 11th June 2010.
A Ridgway blue-ground part dessert service went for a premium price of $6,600 at the Fine English Ceramics & Chinese Exports Porcelain auction at Christie’s, New York on 24th January 1992.
Another Ridgway dark blue ground part dessert service went for a premium price of £3,878 at the British Ceramics Auction at Christie’s, London on 1st November 2001.
An English porcelain part dessert service went for a premium price of £2,629 at the Staffordshire Figures, British Ceramics and Welsh Pottery auction at Christie’s, London on 21st October 2004.
A John Ridgway & Co., real ironstone china dinner piece went for a premium price of $4,780 at the Important European Furniture Auction at Christie’s, New York on 19th May 2004.
A William Ridgway pottery jug went for a premium price of £345 at the British and Continental Ceramics auction at Christie’s, London on 28th January 1999.