When Samuel Weller launched his one-man, one-room pottery in 1872, he did everything himself. He dug the clay from the Fultenham, Ohio, soil, threw and fired his pieces, and carted them into nearby Zanesville, where he sold them door to door.
At the time, Weller’s repertoire ranged from flower pots to cuspidors, with the occasional piece of stoneware thrown in for good measure. Little could anyone have guessed that within 30 years, Weller Pottery would employ 500 people and be one of the biggest names in hand-painted art pottery in the United States.
While Weller’s roots may have been solo, his success owed a lot to the artisans he hired. The first of these was William Long of Lonhouda Pottery. Long was only at Weller a year or so, but Weller produced his Louwelsa pieces for many years to come. These vases and other decorative objects featured generally dark backgrounds, upon which were florals or portraits, which appeared frozen beneath their shiny overglaze.
The next outsider to help Weller achieve his vision, and success, was Charles Babcock Upjohn, who was hired in 1895 as Weller’s art director—he remained with the firm for almost 10 years. Upjohn is credited with the popular Dickensware II line of 1900, whose surfaces featured figurative illustrations that were literally lifted from the pages of Charles Dickens novels.
Next Weller hired the English potter Frederick Hurton Rhead, who was also only at Weller a year (1902-1903) but left a major mark before moving on to Roseville and Arequipa (Rhead is probably best known as the designer of Fiesta). Among other things, Rhead is credited with Dickensware III, which was a kind of embossed version of Upjohn’s time-consuming-to-produce line. He also produced a number of hand-painted faience plates.
Jacques Sicard, a French ceramist, arrived shortly thereafter. He was brought to Weller to share the secrets of an iridescent majolica. Sicard eventually produced the Sicardo line for Weller, but unlike Long and Rhead, he refused to reveal his formula and methods, leaving the pottery in 1907 with the secrets still in his head.
Coincidental with Sicard’s tenure at Weller was that of Austrian Rudolph Lorber, who brought a menagerie of figurines to the firm. He also excelled at embossing techniques and wa...
The Hobart line aside, Weller did not throw off its Art Nouveau roots. One of the pottery’s biggest sellers during the 1920s was its Hudson line of vases, whose floral paintings were decidedly nostalgic for the turn of the century, and are today considered among the finest examples of hand-painted production pottery in the early 20th century. Simultaneously, Weller produced several lines that used relief on their surfaces to dramatic effect, from the birds and daisies of the Knifewood line to the floral decorations of Marvo.
By the 1930s, the days of hand painting at Weller were numbered. Indeed, the company’s painted lines during the decade, from Bonito to Stellar, were extremely simplistic compared to what had come before. By 1935, Weller was only making molded pottery and in 1948, after struggling to stay afloat during World War II, the company closed for good.
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COLUMN: Collecting Flower FrogsBelgrade News, July 31st
Art glass and pottery were priced from $30 to $100. More valuable floral frogs came from Weller and Roseville potteries and cost from $75 to $1,600. Glass frogs from Tiffany & Co. may cost as much as $2,000. More detailed information can be found in...Read more
Karen Allen at Home in the BerkshiresNew York Times, July 31st
Vintage American ceramics are another love, a vestige of her 10-year marriage to Kale Browne, an actor who “knew a lot about the Arts and Crafts movement,” she said. “My favorite pieces are by Weller and the North Dakota School of Mines. What I like...Read more
Modern art was inspired by AfricaHeraldNet, July 16th
A: The Royal Canadian Art Pottery opened in 1946 as a subsidiary of Foley Potteries Ltd. They have factories in Hamilton and Southampton, Ontario, Canada. The company specialized in “Brown Betty”-style teapots in dark brown or black that are hand ...Read more
Kovels: Late 19th century bronzes have modern appealWinston-Salem Journal, July 9th
Answer: The Royal Canadian Art Pottery opened in 1946 as a subsidiary of Foley Potteries Ltd. They have factories in Hamilton and Southampton, Ontario, Canada. The company specialized in “Brown Betty”-style teapots in dark brown or black that are hand ...Read more
Local Business Puts New Spin on PotteryWHIZ, July 8th
Zanesville pottery puts a different spin on the local craft. There, you will not find antiques, Weller or Roseville pottery . "Back in the day, there were several factories, 25-30 different factories in the area and that's what started," said Kim...Read more
Zanesville Pottery Week UnderwayWHIZ, July 7th
"We all come here every year for the week and just trade pots back and forth, and every room has pottery for sale on all three floors in the hotel." Most of her pieces are rich in Zanesville history. Some of her favorites are one-of-a-kind Weller and...Read more
Park City Summit County Arts Council will present exhibit in Oakley's Red BarnThe Park Record, July 3rd
"There will be painting, photography, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fiber art and paper arts, to name a few," Hunter said. Among these artists is renowned watercolorist and illustrator Don Weller. "Don never does shows, so we're really excited to have...Read more
Roof collapse causes gas leakAlton Telegraph, July 3rd
Harvey said there were boxes, some pottery and assorted junk inside the building. Someone reported smelling natural gas in the ... find no sign of other gas leaking in the area. Linda N. Weller may be reached at 518-208-6450 or on Twitter @Linda_Weller...Read more