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What is in a name change!

Hi everyone.

Firstly, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and you are looking forward to great Flow Blue and Mulberry finds in 2023 –

Don’t forget to check out the Annual Convention in Middleton Wisconsin this summer – great things on the schedule – with non-stop fun and so much to pack in.

This month I thought it would be a good idea to check into a well-known pattern name change!!!

“Bluebell” was a given name (not a factory name) for a sheet pattern that resembled of course Bluebells, you found it in many forms made by Staffordshire potters Wm. Ridgway and by the Welsh potters. The Ridgway example is dated around 1850 and the Dillwyn example dates around 1845 – not too much difference in the time period.

So why did Bluebell as it had been known for 40-plus years suddenly have a name change to Royal Lily?  It came about when a shaped jug came onto the market with the underglaze blue backstamp of Royal Lily.

The research found that the jug’s shape was definitely a Ridgway shape, and further research found a Bluebell pattern by Ridgway that was totally different. This was confirmation that we now had a new name with provenance, which is always important. Bluebell became Royal Lily by Wm. Ridgway c1850.

Further research on the Bluebell by the Dillwyn pottery was found in the book “The Glamorgan Pottery Swansea 1814-38” by Helen L Hallesy. In this book, she shows an example of the Bluebell pattern on a small teapot, but they have named it “Bells” again this is a given name and not a factory name. As we have no further information on the Dillwyn pattern that has remained “Bluebell” or “Bells” and can be found under the Bluebell name in the club PID – but the Ridgway example is now listed under Royal Lily.

The Royal Lily jug was quite a rare find only 2 are known, or at least only 2 have shown up, there may be more out there hiding away.

The photos show some of the variety of items / shapes that can be found in these patterns -There are dessert sets, footbaths and dinner services out there in collections of a lot of our members.

A little more information on the potters

Wm. Ridgway & Co. – Shelton Staffordshire  1830 – 1854

Manufacturer of earthenware at the Bell Works, Albion St. and Church Works, Hanley, Stoke on Trent

The brothers John Ridgway and William Ridgway were in partnership at the Cauldon Works from 1814-30

In 1830 the 2 brothers inherited the Bell Works from their Uncle George, John kept the Cauldon Works and William moved to the Bell works.

The Church Works was owned by Joseph Mayer who, around about 1832, rented part of the works to William Ridgway.

William Ridgway was Joseph Mayer’s Cousin. Joseph Mayer had in his employ a Clever Modeller, Leonard James Abington, who was also a chemist, and about 1834 he placed him in partnership, thus making the & Co. in William Ridgway & Co.

When Joseph Mayer ceased potting in 1832, he then let the majority of his works to W. Ridgway & Co., retained an oven and other parts of the works.

Information from

Dillwyn Potteries

The Cambrian Pottery was founded in 1764 by William Coles.

In 1790, John Coles, son of the founder, went into partnership with George Haynes, who introduced new business strategies based on the ideas of Josiah Wedgwood.  Lewis Weston Dillwyn became a partner in 1802 and sole owner when George Haynes left the pottery in 1810.

In 1811 Dillwyn took T.& J. Bevington into partnership, the company becoming known as Dillwyn & Co.  Between 1814 and 1817, Dillwyn produced the renowned ‘Swansea Porcelain’.  Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn (L.W.D.’s son) ran the pottery from 1836, he bought out the neighboring Glamorgan Pottery in 1838.

Ironically, many of the redundant staff went on to help found the South Wales Pottery at Llanelli, the competition from which played a part in the ultimate demise of the Cambrian.  Throughout its history, the Cambrian employed some of the very best artists, such as Thomas Rothwell, Thomas Pardoe, and Thomas Baxter.

The pottery closed in 1870 when the site was sold to Cory, Yeo & Co.

Information from The Swansea Museum

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