Beloved around the globe as much for practicality and versatility as well as eye-catching compositions, Denby Pottery is the epitome of Great British ceramic design. Produced using a combination of modern techniques and traditional handcrafting, Denby pottery is well known for high-quality and distinctive products.
Today the handcrafted nature of Denby Pottery still makes every piece unique, as each item is skilfully hand-dipped in the Denby salt glaze, creating the dynamic and durable finish we all love.
The history of Denby Pottery begins in 1806, in Denby, Derbyshire, when local businessman William Bourne, found a seam of clay during road construction, and immediately recognised its remarkable qualities.
It wasn’t until 1809 that Denby began to make salt-glazed pottery from a small site on the clay bed. Once William Bourne had given ownership of the business to his youngest son Joseph, the pottery blossomed and soon began to develop a worldwide reputation for the quality of its bottles and jars.
Glass was a costly commodity in the 19th century, which is why stoneware items were used to hold things that we’d typically use glass jars for today such as jams, preserves and even beer.
By the 1920s Denby china and pottery were being used for functional kitchenware products and decorative pieces under the name Danesby Ware.
During this time the great sculptor Donald Gilbert joined the company and took advantage of the progression in firing technology by creating some of the most popular Denby Pottery patterns ever made, such as the Cottage Blue, Epic Green, Manor Green and Homestead Brown. As well as this he was also responsible for diversifying into animal figurines, which are beloved by many Denby enthusiasts from all over the world.
After the Second World War, Denby focused on creating the modern tableware which brought them to the forefront of ceramic design. Their in-house designer Glyn College, with newfound artistic freedom, created striking designs that reflected the mood of the time under the name of Glynware.
During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, a string of the most talented artists in the industry joined the team, such as Kenneth Clarke, who created the Classic Giftware range and Gill Pemberton who designed the still popular Chevron and Arabesque patterns.
Many of these designs from the post-world war period including, Gypsy and Chatsworth, were hand painted so the colour and pattern variations can be quite significant, our Essential Guide shows some examples. Collectors embrace this uniqueness, but for those looking to match an item perfectly to a set then it is always worth taking the time to give us a call.
These days, Denby is still produced in the UK where they create an extensive range of tableware, which is both stylish and durable – something that has never changed since the company was founded.
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