Bernard Moore Pottery
Bernard Moore was an influential British pottery designer and manufacturer.
Brief History and Description
Bernard Moore was born on 13th January 1850. His father, Samuel Moore was a successful potter and was the partner of the pottery company, Hamilton & Moore. Bernard had his early schooling at the St. Mary's Convent School at Chesterfield. In 1865, after leaving school, Bernard joined his father at his pottery works.
By 1870, Bernard and his brother Samuel Vincent eventually succeeded their father’s Staffordshire pottery works, where they produced marketable china, and the highly commercially successful ornamental pottery. Bernard spent a lot of time experimenting with glazes as he had a fascination with pottery from the Far East. Bernard spent nearly 40 years working with his brother at the pottery firm Moore Brothers, in Stoke-on-Trent.
In 1905, the Moore Brothers decided to sell their firm and Bernard Moore set up his own pottery works, which lasted from 1905 to 1915. His son, Bernard Joseph Moore acted as a consultant to his firm. It was after he went solo, Bernard began to produce technically remarkable pieces with flambe and sang de boeuf glazes, catering to an international market.
He was particularly interested in recreating oriental glazes from the Ming Dynasty period. Bernard Moore’s work was well received and he had clients from America, Europe, and the UK. Unfortunately, most of his works were destroyed in a fire at an exhibition house in Brussels during 1910.
Bernard Moore passed away on 3rd April 1935 at his home at the age of 85.
Guide for Collectors
Bernard Moore pottery is very popular with collectors worldwide and even today, his rare pieces are still sought after. His work with flambe glazes had a great influence on the pottery and ceramic industry. He used copper and other metals in his flambe glazes resulting in intense hue, which were glowing and speckled with golden highlights.
The British Museum in 1902, using Bernard’s pieces, tried to develop ancient Chinese style flambe glazes. Details about Bernard Moore’s works can be got from the BCS (British Ceramic Society) of which he was president during the years 1902 and 1903.
Bernard Moore pottery can also be found in a number of auction houses (viz., Christie's and Bonhams) and in private collections. With the onset of the internet, many of his pieces can also be found at the online shopping mall, eBay. The book "Bernard Moore" by Aileen Dawson also gives a detailed insight in to the potters life and works.
A small tip for collectors - The Bernard Moore insignia or signature or the symbols BM is usually printed or painted on the back of the pottery and in some pieces made between (1905 and 1915) and in other pieces, it has the year printed alongside as well.
Notable Auction Sales
There are many Bernard Moore pottery works that have been auctioned in the open market. The most expensive one to date is "Royal Doulton Flambe", a rare experimental Vase with Viking Longboat painted with a ship at sea with standing figures aboard, and heightened with turquoise-colored beading on a flambe and amber ground, which was sold for a premium price of £6,960 on 23rd September, 2009 at Bonham's, New Bond Street, London.
The other expensive pieces include a flambe ovoid vase and cover images that went for a premium price of £3,525 (which was double its estimated price) on 29th March, 2001 at Christie’s London, South Kensington.
Another piece, a Flambe rabbit Image went for a premium price of £2,585 (four times its estimate) on 20th June, 2002 at Christie’s, London, South Kensington.
Some of his popular works that have been auctioned include a "flambe pottery vase and cover" that went for a premium price of $1,200 on 7th April 2006 at Christie’s, New York. Another Bernard Moore flambe pottery piece, "Ginger jar and cover", went for a premium price of $1,200 also on 7th April 2006 at Christie’s, New York.
Another rare Bernard Moore piece, a "Flambe Monkey," went for a premium price of £816 on 13th March, 2008 at Bonham's, New Bond Street, London.