What’s in a maker’s mark on pottery?

There’s a ton of pottery out on the market that you will run across, but how do you know what’s what?  And how do you read the mark on the bottom of the piece to know what you have in your hands?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking at a mark:

A maker’s mark will run a wide variety on how much information it will give you.  It could be just the name of the name of the company, or it could be loaded with information like the Frank Beardmore piece pictured above.  Since 1891, all pottery that is made to be exported (especially into the United States), it must be stamped with a country of origin near the maker’s label.

With artist’s being hired on by the pottery companies to hand paint some items, the artist could sign their name to the piece as well.  I have seen an artist signature to either the bottom of the piece or on the side of the piece (I would look near the bottom of the piece to see if the artist signed there).

There are times that the name of the pattern is written on the bottom of the piece as well.  The Frank Beardmore creamer’s pattern is called “A Sussex Homeland” and the name of the pattern is listed at the top of the mark on this piece.

A good tip to remember is that the marks on pottery are not that hard to decipher; it just takes about a minute to figure out how the maker laid out the mark.

What kinds of pottery have you found something out by looking at the mark?

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