Exhibitions 1914-1930

1914

February 16 – 28, 1914
Fair of the British Pottery & Glass Manufacturers

At both Town Halls of the English
Potteries towns of Stoke-upon-Trent and
Burslem

P&GR (1).14 pp170-174:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, had a good show
of both china and earthenware, the greater
portion of which is decorated in exact period
styles. The firm has taken great pains to reproduce these faithfully, and if the samples shown on their stand are equal to their bulk they are doing exceedingly well, and can claim to be successful from every point of view.

1914
1915

February 22 – 27, 1915
2nd British Pottery & Glass Fair

Stoke Town Hall

P&GR (3).15 p179:
Amongst the exhibitors –
AE Gray & Co Ltd, …. Kirkland & Co ….

PG 4.15 pp412-413:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, have of late made a bid for the better-class reproduction work in china and earthenware; to be more correct, I ought to say they have gone in for adaptations of the reputed decorative schemes of past periods, as a matter of fact their reproductions are not slavish copies but the embodiment of new ideas in conjunction with the best features of the old master-pieces.

The Jacobean styles of decoration have received considerable attention at their hands, and this is the motive which underlies many of their best productions in dinner, tea and toilet ware. They are also particularly strong on hand-painted and hand-gilt styles as contradistinct from the mechanical printed and filled-in productions.

The hand-gilding in all their better class work is of quite a high order, and, therefore, one is not surprised that many of the designs have found their way into the leading London establishments which are now running them to good effect. The firm were showing a selection of their principal styles at the Pottery Fair, and amongst them, standing out with unmistakable superiority, was a design known as Sèvres Marbling.

Although in essence an echo of Sèvres, the design has a modern adaptation in that it is strengthened at the top and the base of the marbling, which gives it a distinguishing and unique finish, and it is carried out in black instead of in gold. Beneath the black marbling are large floral groups, which are of rich coloration, and give the whole a sumptuous appearance.

This design certainly sounds an aesthetic note, and it was one of the prime successes of the Pottery Fair. It is offered in toilet ware, dinner ware, vases and ornaments of numerous forms, as also in china tea ware. In the opinion of the writer, it should prove an acquisition to the stock of any dealer, and I have no hesitation in referring to it as one of the best of the 1915 reproductions that I have seen as yet. I was also struck with a toilet service in green and buff, closely reminiscent of the old Rockingham styles.

This is a particularly good pattern, and worthy of being shown in any high-class establishment. In [old Chelsea] styles AE Gray & Co Ltd have a really nice variety. A pair of vases decorated in this manner with a rich marone finish looked equal to the productions of much older and better-known concerns. Toilet, tea, and dessert ware are to be had in the same style.

Buyers are recommended to inquire for the Old Bristol and the Georgian patterns, descriptions which are not misnomers by any means, for these designs almost transport one to the old-time periods suggested by their names. The Hardwicke is a specially good pattern of Jacobean motive; at the same time it is individualistic, and is not without a modern touch. Many other patterns equally good, and in strict period styles, might be singled out for special mention did space permit. A group of pieces in the Sèvres Marbling design are shown in our illustration.

1915
1915

May 10 – 21, 1915
1st British Industries Fair

Agricultural Hall, Islington, London

P&GR (3).15 p255, P&GR (4).15 p35, PG 6.15 p655:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, china and earthenware, (stand C37), showed a most attractive range of decorated dinnerware, toilet ware, dessert ware and fancies, which was practically a replica of the exhibit which they made at the recent Pottery Fair at Stoke, and noticed in these pages at the time. The Sèvres Marbling was, to the mind of the writer, one of the best styles shown, and it was everywhere admired. But an [Old Chelsea] pattern, having blue panels and an exotic bird centre, ran it very close for popularity of interest. The Queen, who visited the Fair on the opening day, caught sight of this as she passed the stand, and apparently pulled up to admire it. Although only a small exhibit, the display of this firm was of a highly artistic order and it came in for a goodly show of interest.

1915
1916

February 21 – March 3, 1916
2nd British Industries Fair

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

PG 4.16 p388:
AE Gray & Co, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, exhibited some highly creditable examples of their domestic services in china and semi-porcelain. Vases and ornaments also figured prominently. It was not a large exhibit, but it was at least choice, some of the enamelled and hand-gilt patterns setting a remarkable good standard of decoration.

1916
1917

1917
3rd British Industries Fair

Victoria & Albert Museum and the Imperial Institute, London

PG 3.17 p262 and 4.17 p372:
AE Gray & Co Ltd of Hanley, china and earthenware, were bold exponents of the cult of the open stand, their frontage being only broken by one tall rectangular glass case in which the most important objects were some new tea caddies and vases, beautifully decorated in Sèvres Marbling, with black borders and enamel colours on Rose-du-Barri, jade green, pink, yellow and purple backgrounds.

Some of these articles, as shown in the accompanying illustration, had been selected for purchase by Her Majesty the Queen. On a stand in the rear was a quantity of tea, coffee, and dessert ware for which similar decorations were provided. Here the pink, jade green and light and dark purples were repeated, and also the [Sèvres Marbling] with hand-painted gold borders.

The colouring was extremely rich and of a high degree of translucence, being, indeed, one of the best achievements of something approaching a novelty that we saw in the whole of the Fair. Besides the colours specified there were also black grounds with tangerine, pearl grey, and Celadon shades. In some cases the borders were diversified by means of panels bearing exotic birds. On the opposite side of the stand was an assortment of useful goods with lithographed decorations and also again with repetitions of those already noticed, the [Sèvres Marbling] proving as suitable for toilet and tableware as for lighter or more fancy articles.

A good pattern for dinner ware was a [strong golden yellow with black Persian border and black handles and knobs]. Some of the older decorations were given new life by being applied to a [new shape of vegetable dish], this being square with rounded corners. Beneath the shelf, deserving a better place if such had been available, was a double row of toilet ware.

At the further end were some lavishly decorated dessert sets in Rockingham styles, some with a pheasant and some with a basket of flowers in the centre. Among these we noticed a few plates with a deep foot which had been specially prepared for mounting. The exhibit of this firm was really refreshing in its originality, both as regards the ware and the manner in which it had been displayed.

1917
1918

March 11 – 22, 1918
4th British Industries Fair

Pennington Street premises of the London Dock

PG 4.18 p309:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, of Hanley, had obtained a large, open stand in a commanding position, which they employed to good effect, their wares being of a description that could confidently challenge the attention of all comers.

An island case in front was devoted to the pattern No 1581, which has a mauve ground with trailing foliage and flowers, also in mauve, with pale green centres. The pieces shown included toilet ware, tea ware, vases and jars, while a nice little tea set of the same design was set out on a table immediately in the rear.

Queen Mary, on the occasion of her visit, had chosen a tea-caddy and fern-pot of this ware for her own use, and had also selected some vases, etc, to be delivered to the Red Cross Bazaar at Hanley on May 14th. These the firm are giving as a contribution to the Bazaar.

A similar decorative scheme in green was shown in another island case at the opposite end of the stand. On the rear shelving was a variety of toilet sets with bold colour schemes in purple and green, yellow and black and white, mauve and deep purple, etc. Perhaps the most daring was a floral design in purple, blue and green on an Indian Red background, the extremes of colour cancelling out and realising a quite harmonious general effect.

Other toilet sets showed the narrow enamelled bands on solid grounds in which this firm have achieved many successes; geometric borders were also applied in a similar way, [a rhomboidal chequer] being particularly conspicuous. For dinner ware, the narrow litho bands were most freely used, but the tea sets at the other end of the stand showed some excellent original hand-painting, a blue cornflower border furnishing an excellent example.

Another very rich tea set had floral panels on a Rose-du-Barri and purple background, with an irregular mesh, representing a genuine triumph of artistic technique. Some fern-pots with purple background and floral borders had been purchased by Queen Alexandra.

PG 5.18 p379:
(Illustration of the stand): …. it fully illustrates the advantage of the open stand for exhibition purposes, the blending of artistic shades of decoration being particularly well accomplished. The Royal purchases are indicated by labels in the left-hand island case.

1918
1919

February 24 – March 7, 1919
5th British Industries Fair

Pennington Street premises of the London Dock

PG 4.19 p356:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, had their usual open stand, which occupied an enviable corner position, quite near to the entrance. It was an extremely attractive show, although it had not been studiously elaborated. Its chief merit lay in its simplicity, for it consisted of just one or two showcases, with a few tables slipped in between covered with white tablecloths.

At the same time, it was genuinely attractive, as our illustration will show. With regard to the patterns shown, amongst these were some fine Jacobean styles in both china and earthenware. One No 576, of which a tea caddy was purchased by Queen Mary, was carried out in a black print with quite a nice little spray pattern in subdued colours. A new departure in inexpensive litho borders in flat tones was to be seen in such patterns as the No 1766, in which the predominant colours were green and blue.

This is finished off either with a green line or with a gold edge; in the former it looks quite well. There was a splendid border pattern carried out entirely in black, with black handles to match, and there was an interesting all hand-work pattern, [groundlaid, and worked up on the top of the ground with a touch of red spotting based upon heather bloom].

There was a goodly showing of plate patterns, suitable for tier stands, also jam dishes, butter dishes, biscuits, salads, and the like, suitable for the mounting trades. There were some really good styles in plaques, amongst which a Jacobean style was conspicuous.

There was also one in pencilled blue, with a large heraldic lion forming the centre. The freehand spirit of the whole thing was quite refreshing. It can safely be said that the artistic effect which the stand of this particular firm exerted came almost entirely from the wares themselves, which told their own story, as they stood upon the simple white cloths upon which they were arrayed.

1919
1920

January 12, 1920
(Stoke-on-Trent) Ceramic Society Art Section – Modern Pottery exhibition

Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

PG 3.20 p349:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Hanley, had a few selected pieces which, although simple in their motive, were free in their rendering, refreshing in their colouring, and altogether useful to the average class of china dealer. They were attractive without being involved, and of an order such as would appeal at once to the person who, without enjoying a fat purse, can yet appreciate quiet, good taste.

The Studio Decorative Art Yearbook 1920 p80:
An exhibition of modern pottery was recently held at Stoke-on-Trent. While revealing no great advance in what is called ‘trade’ ware, at any rate it did not include examples of decoration such as are inspired, for instance, by pink flowers on black grounds, which in recent years have been a cause of despair to those who were endeavouring to raise the artistic standard of this important British industry. Indeed, most of the pieces showed commendable restraint in the decoration and form. We reproduce on pages 83 and 86 a small selection of the exhibits.

1920
1920

February 23 – March 5, 1920
6th British Industries Fair

Crystal Palace, London

P&GR 3.20 p179:
Gray and Co Ltd, AE, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, Staffs. No London representation.

At this stand the open display of dinner ware on separate stands was a good innovation, and did credit to those responsible. We did not notice any new china services, but the designs in semi-porcelain evidenced knowledge of colour values and good sense of pattern arrangement. Of the new dinner ware, some charming patterns were [a daisy on black border]; another, No 1593, conventional scroll decoration and green border, with blue petals; in tea ware, No 829 (Hardwicke), a grass-green decoration with pheasant motif, and black on white alternate green floral treatment, full of lively but harmonious effects.

Also noticeable, free hand-painted decorated lines on green and red grounds; feature being good use of two strengths of same bright colour juxtaposed. In toilets, the only new set that caught the writer’s eye was the [Graham shape], with hand-painted floral straps; available in trinkets. American store buyers should enquire about a baby toilet set fitted up on stand, with hand-painted floral design. Other outstanding new items were some [plaques in strong colour (image 1) (image 2)], with hand-painted Jacobean background; in fancies, peacock blue with dice border; sundries for mounting, in variety of shapes and twelve self-toned colours, with dice border.

PG 4.20 p475:
…. on the second day of the Exhibition, a visit …. by Their Majesties the King and Queen and Princess Mary …. they found time to visit several outstanding exhibits and halted ‘en passant’ at others. The stands thus honoured were those of Doulton & Co Ltd …. AE Gray & Co Ltd …. (eight in total).

PG 4.20 p485:
AE Gray & Co Ltd had their usual strong show of judiciously decorated china tea, breakfast, and dessert sets and sundries, as well as semi-porcelain in all its branches. Simplicity was the keynote both of the arrangement of the stand and of the patterns shown. To remind our readers of the class of goods in which this firm specialises, we reproduce here a photograph of three teacups and saucers and plates. The firm has hundreds of different patterns, however, embracing a wide field of design, and the full range is one which cannot fail to attract any dealer who may be on the lookout for something really smart at a moderate figure.

1920
1920

Opened May 31, 1920
British Institute of Industrial Art – Modern Crafts and Manufactures Exhibition

217 Knightsbridge, London

See: Catalogue cover and pages 31 & 32

PG 10.20 p1339 & 1347:
(Held under the auspices of the British Institute of Industrial Art).

Click here to view the stand

AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, presented a number of restrained patterns in domestic ware, principally in simple border patterns, the keynote of the majority of the pieces being simplicity.

1920
1921

February 21 – March 4, 1921
7th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London

P&GR 3.21 p191:
Gray, AE and Co, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, Staffs. London office: 2 Charterhouse Street, EC1.

A leading feature of this firm’s exhibits was a range of patterns on services, which included brilliant futurist colouring, delicate shadow designs, and those of medium strength to meet the demands of various fashions in furniture.

Of the first No 2163, printed and enamelled fruit design, shown on an old-world check cloth, would be ideal in a country cottage. No 2151 (image 1) (image 2), a new ‘Jewel’ hand-painted pattern, in strong colours and futurist style on semi-porcelain, is very taking, whilst in contrast, No 2158, shadow pattern, in pale mauve, blue, and green violets and foliage, and 2157, pale mauve trellis, with blue, yellow-centred flowers and light green leaves, all hand-painted, make a very dainty show.

The medium colouring services, 2155, forget-me-not designs in a range of various colours, is clean and very attractive. For country houses and cottages, the cherry pattern, No 2153, is excellent. All these designs are used on services and fancies. Amongst the new lithos, No 2204 is a good and very decorative line, whilst 2201 is so excellent as to give the appearance of hand-painting.

PG 4.21 pp596-597:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, showed the usual select display of specialistic treatments in decorative schemes, applied to a full range of domestic china and earthenware. A feature of the stand was the eclectic manner in which the various patterns were shown, and the discriminative limitation of the number of pieces exhibited. A photograph of the stand here reproduced will emphasise this point more clearly than a wordy elaboration of it. Simplicity of treatment and careful regard of artistic principles characterised the entire exhibit.

1921
1922

February 27 – March 10, 1922
8th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London

PG 4.22 p560:
AE Gray & Co, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, at stand G38, presented a specially good show of neat hand-painted patterns in tea and dinner ware. They had a number of designs of particular merit offered at distinctly moderate prices. A pattern which elicited a good deal of interest consisted of a wreath of nasturtiums in red and yellow colouring, supplemented by green leafage. This pattern was particularly attractive, and elegant though simple.

The patterns, in the main, were in the form of borders, leaving plenty of the white body of the ware uncovered. They had also a very good line in [hand-painted nursery ware, introducing a very simple decorative treatment of owls, storks etc], the subjects being rendered in such an elementary style that they cannot but be readily appreciated by the youngest child. The exhibit of this house, at whatever exhibition they elect to support, is always a feature, and it fully lived up to its reputation on this occasion.

1922
1922

January 16 – February 25, 1922
British Institute of Industrial Art – Present Day Industrial Art Exhibition

Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, London

See: Catalogue cover (Click here to view)

The catalogue contains a brief description of the Gray’s Pottery exhibit:

No 316. Case of domestic pottery, by AE Gray & Company, Limited, comprising hand decorated tea and dinner services, kitchen jars and jam jars.

An advertisement, on page ix, illustrates patterns 2284 and 2301.

(Click here to view)

PG 3.22 p398:
AE Gray & Co Ltd presented a special case of hand-decorated tea and dinner ware, kitchen jars, jam jars, etc. The whole of the pieces were fully up to the standard upon which this company prides itself. Simplicity of treatment, with colouring restrainedly yet skilfully applied, seemed to sum up the whole series of patterns on display.

1922
1923

February 19 – March 2, 1923
9th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London

P&GR 2.23 p358 (Fair preview):
AE Gray and Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, Staffs. London agent: Mr WJ Stonier, 13 Charterhouse Street, EC1.

An interesting collection of new decorated china tea, breakfast and dessert services, on some new shapes, will be shown at the Fair. In dinner ware there will be also some good shapes, with enamel and hand-painted decorations; and a range of toilet and trinket sets, vases, plaques, bowls, and other ornamental and useful wares, including articles to meet the requirements of the mounting trade. Some of the small spray motifs of decoration, for example, [on biscuit barrels, with mounting], should find an easy market amongst good class dealers both in the home and Colonial market.

Apart from the free brushwork painted borders, sprays, and lines free of edge treatment, the makers are showing some individual litho patterns, and printed and enamel styles of decoration. In a reasonably-priced dinner service, we illustrate a new design, of border sprays with centre floral scheme, typical in some respects of the Old Bow hand-painted wares; also available on tea ware. The band work in conjunction with bright-coloured conventional spray, makes the ware of this firm stand out for its simplicity and clean effect.

An outstanding feature will be, however, the [Gloria lustre], wherein the firm have utilised in some measure the services of Mr Gordon Forsyth, whose work as a painter and designer of lustre ware won for him a deservedly high reputation. For this new lustre ware the services of trained hand-painting workers have been utilised to produce a lustre treatment for table wares, whereby very rich colours are obtained with the added interest of lustre, giving a jewel-like surface and effect in the pattern. In addition there will be seen some distinctive toilet and tea ware, in self-ground colours, produced by a special process, which are broken up into lustre effects. These wares are to be bought at very moderate prices. Associated with these lustre wares are a series of bowls, vases and toilet sets, etc, in novel effects of lustre treatment; whilst there are to be shown a series of decorative wall plaques, hand-painted in rich coloured lustres.

P&GR 3.23 p391 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, of Mayer Street, Hanley. Some tasteful hand-painted work was shown by this firm, and some new designs both in earthenware and china of tea, breakfast, dinner and toilet ware.

PG 4.23 p656 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, whose stand was visited by the King and Queen, made a good display of useful tableware in tea, breakfast, and dinner sets, as well as coffees and saucers, and what are usually spoken of in the trade as ‘fittings’. In the great bulk of the patterns simple freehand paintings were relied upon to yield the whole of the decoration.

It was clear that there was a set purpose in the designing of the whole of the patterns, viz, to provide the younger art students of the Potteries with an opportunity of expressing themselves by the use of the brush, unrestricted by the engraved outline which is so commonly resorted to. This simple freehand work is undoubtedly a coming form of decoration, and capable of wide development. It conforms to an ideal which has often been discussed of late years, and it is capable of yielding some very pleasing effects.

There were some neat and effective treatments also in hand-painted lustres, designed by Mr Gordon Forsyth, who was congratulated by the King on some of these. Queen Mary seemed particularly interested to hear that the girls who are now engaged in producing some of these hand-work patterns are drawn from the elementary schools and are being educated, through the medium of the local Potteries art schools, to do such creditable work. Some good toilet patterns were also shown by the house, one notable example being a service in a carmine colouring which ought to fit in harmoniously with some of the modern designs in fabrics. Throughout, in tea, breakfast, dinner, toilet, and sundries, the designs were certainly characterised by good taste.

1923
1923

September – October, 1923
British Institute of Industrial Art – Exhibition of Industrial Art

Victoria & Albert Museum, London
See the extract from the catalogue of exhibits.

P&GR 9.23 p638:
In the Central Court there are several striking examples of what the modern art student can do. ….
AE Gray & Co Ltd have also some fine examples of modern art ceramics, showing dinner, tea and coffee services with gold bands and floral decoration, and bowls with lustre and fruit design.

1923
1924

April 28 – May 9, 1924
10th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London

PG 6.24 p1016 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, showed a whole series of refined patterns in tea, breakfast, dinner and toilet ware, as well as vases, hand-decorated and lustred. Some of the latter were based on the lines of the old Italian and Spanish lustres, and there was a spirit of freedom about them which was really quite refreshing. Reproductions of some of the [old Staffordshire figures] were also shown, but treated in a rather more modern spirit in the matter of colour. The utility wares included many hand-painted border patterns, and there were also a number of styles in which this class of hand-painting was seen in combination with gold bands.

A unique type of hand-painted [nursery ware] was a feature of the exhibit. We commented to Mr Gray upon the fact that this type of nursery ware is very different from the types that we ourselves remember from our childhood days, and his reply was that he thought that if there was anything that was criminal it was to put before the child something that was bad taste in the matter of art, because the mind was in such a receptive condition at that particular stage that incalculable harm might be done. We wondered, in view of Mr Gray’s observation, whether possibly our own taste in the matter of art might not have been perverted in this way, because very often we find that what we like other people dissent from. However, we certainly agreed with Mr Gray in the principle expressed.

1924
1924

23 April – 1 November, 1924
British Empire Exhibition

Wembley, London

AE Gray & Co Ltd was to be seen in two sections of the Exhibition:

In Gallery M (Pottery & Glass), stand M451, of The Palace of Industry;

In Galleries D, J & Q of Section 4, Applied Arts, of The Palace of Arts.

Examples of pots which carry the British Empire Exhibition 1924 logo alongside the Gray’s backstamp: 4000, 4263, 4345, 4380, 4385, 4386, 5130, 5180, 5181, 5200, 5241, 5269, 5294, unknown pattern 1, unknown pattern 2. Unfortunately, no information has yet come to light regarding which Gray’s pots were displayed in which location.
Note that AE Gray & Co did not exhibit at the re-opened British Empire Exhibition in 1925.

P&GR 6.24 pp209-211:
Mr AE Gray, of Hanley, has charge of his own stand, where, in addition to china and semi-porcelain dinner and tea ware beautifully painted by hand, there are some wonderfully reflective lustres, both in Persian and Gubbio style done by hand, and some attractive [figures with the real old Staffordshire feeling]. An interesting item is that, on Good Friday morning, Mr Gray took the very first order booked at the Exhibition in any department.
…. reference to display in Gallery D …. five pieces from AE Gray & Co, artistically decorated by hand ….
In Gallery Q, among the oil paintings, there are also here and there some ‘applied arts’, such as …. and a bowl and two vases in lustre from AE Gray & Co.
It was AE Gray & Co who supplied the dinner service in the 1924 Dining Room (Gallery J).

PG 7.24 p1198:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, show an interesting range of their neat, hand-painted border patterns in tableware, and a goodly number of their newest styles in hand-painted lustres.

PG 8.24 p1353:
That which interested the writer most of all in the Palace of Arts was, probably, the various pottery and glass exhibits, under the heading of ‘Applied Arts’, in gallery D. Here were to be seen some really good specimens of the productions of our modern well-known potters, some of whom were exhibiting in another section, but some of whom were not …. and a few special productions by AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley ….

1924
1925

July – October, 1925
Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratif et Industriels Modernes

Paris

Catalogue Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratif et Industriels Modernes – Pavillon Britannique, p97 (French version p96)
Unfortunately, as with the 1924 British Empire Exhibition, no images exist of the Gray’s products on display. It is believed that pattern 5399 was one of the designs exhibited.

PG 7.25 p1092:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, by the character of their exhibit, appear to indicate a greater appreciation of what the French authorities were inviting and expecting than is displayed by many of the firms exhibiting, though we doubt very much whether, from a business-getting point of view, their efforts to conform to the original instructions issued by the exhibition authorities will recoup them to the same degree as if they had come forward with some of the types of patterns which they have shown at previous exhibitions. Be that as it may, the pieces exhibited included some smart hand-gilt dinner and tea ware patterns, as well as some notable vases in broad treatments of modern lustres, richly hand-gilt. Freehand work was the dominating characteristic of the majority of the pieces exhibited. We cannot help feeling that this particular firm, along with several others, probably suffered by reason of their desire to carry out, as far as possible to the letter, the spirit of the exhibition. That they could have put up a far better show had they been given a freer hand, or had they interpreted the instructions less literally, we have not the slightest doubt.

P&GR 11.25 p419:
Awards to pottery firms and artists – a silver medal to AE Gray & Co (with 12 others).
The 1927 British Government report on the Paris Exhibition includes a chapter on Pottery by Gordon M Forsyth where he assesses all the pottery shown and he details certain companies, pp127-133:
Messrs AE Gray & Co decorate interesting, well-made utilitarian and ornamental ware in Gloria lustre, each piece being hand-painted and signed by the artist. They also decorate china tea ware, but their chief and most meritorious exhibit was of well-decorated pieces of dinner ware. This ware is excellent in its simplicity, great use being made of small bright touches of on-glaze enamel colour, which gives a clean and wholesome effect – so necessary to utilitarian ware.

1925
1926

February 15 – 26, 1926
11th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London
P&GR 3.26 p576 (Fair review):

Nobody could avoid being struck by the stand of Messrs AE Gray & Co Ltd, which was certainly designed and arranged by an artist. The lower part of the walls was of simple brown hessian cloth; and the frieze above was decorated with bright posters of a futuristic kind. There was also some very striking plaques on the walls, including one in mauve, blue, yellow and red, it being Mr Gray’s idea to give a strong note of colour in the decoration of the stand. Different types of tea sets, etc, were displayed on half a dozen separate oak tables; and, on a handsome dresser at the back, some rich green and platinum vases, with a fish decoration inspired by a Chinese pattern, as well as some ware with a matt finish, in which the toning of the colours gave an appearance of natural stone. On some of the tables were new patterns in Gloria lustre. A new and [dainty treatment of silver and green], looking specially pretty on a beautifully shaped coffee pot, was much admired by the Queen. Another table showed some of the old copper lustres. On one of the artistically arranged shelves which ornamented the corners was a very popular hand-painted design in orange and black, which is applied to all table sundries. Then there were early morning tea sets, in gold lustre and hand-painted colours, and a variety of other bright and refined patterns.

PG 4.26 pp602-603 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, had a large and impressive display at Stand G9 of high-class treatments in dinner, tea, toilet, and ornamental wares, hand-painting and lustring being a strong feature. Many of the patterns exhibited a tendency towards the futurist, if only in a mild form. The strong point in ornamental wares was the series of hand-painted Gloria lustres. A very charming effect was to be seen in the No 7082 pattern – a celadon-lustred ground with a multi-coloured fruit border (illustration p.603). In this particular pattern the range extended from ornamental wares to useful table sundries. There was another new line introducing [green and a silver lustre]. An interesting range of pieces in the old Gubbio style of lustring was also on show, and there was a new line of orange and blue in a broad decorative treatment which was worthy of a close and detailed inspection. The aim of AE Gray & Co Ltd is to produce pottery that is useful and at the same time decorative, and that they are succeeding in doing this was clearly exemplified in their very attractive exhibit, which, we understand, called forth the congratulations of the King, who visited the stand in the course of his journey through the pottery and glass section.

1926
1926

May 3 – 9, 1926
Stoke-on-Trent Civic Week – Exhibition of Modern Pottery

King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent
P&GR 5.26 p651 and PG 6.26 pp935-938:

AE Gray & Co Ltd exhibited. (Note that they, unlike many others, did not make their factory open for visits).

1926
1927

February 21 – March 4, 1927
12th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London and at the Aerodrome, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham

PG 4.27 p632 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, had an exhibit at Stand G9 which stood out conspicuously as an example of ‘something different’ from the ordinary run of exhibition displays. The stand itself at once marked out this particular exhibit from the remainder of the displays, and as for the wares on view, these certainly struck some new notes as regards their decorative handling.

The Gloria lustres were still on view, though there were some quite new adaptations. As regards the useful tablewares, both china and earthenware, hand-painted styles of decorations predominated, and, as a whole, the exhibit seemed to suggest a real desire on the part of the firm to create new styles rather than to follow upon traditional lines. To create is always difficult, and perhaps the more so in an industry where convention has, in the past, counted for so much; but the firm in question is nothing daunted, and is continuing, apparently, to pursue a line of policy which they evidently believe will eventually bring them a trade which is more or less of their own creation, bound up with their name and reflecting their artistic impulses.

1927
1927

September 29 – October 29, 1927
British Industrial Art Exhibition: Recent examples of British Pottery

North Court Annexe, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Exhibition details courtesy the V&A Ceramics Library (Box 3 2C2):
Recent examples of British Pottery

Note: Equivalent costs for 2011 are based on a conversion by The National Archives working the equivalent spending worth forwards from 1925 (closest date) into 2011 values and correcting for consumer price inflation 1925-1927 (3%). It is intended as a guide only.

Unfortunately, no specific design can be attributed to any item listed in the above and there are no images available.

P&GR 10.27 p371:
AE Gray & Co Ltd had quite a number of small objects in which the beauty of hand work in enamelled colours was shown. They had many pretty little novelties, including mug, porridge plate, cup and saucer, [beaker and plate], designed by Miss Susie Cooper. Also a fruit bowl, by the same artist. One of the most remarkable pieces on this stand, however, was a vegetable dish in silver and turquoise enamel, part of a dinner service of 54 pieces.

PG 1.28 p103:
Exhibition in the North Court Annexe of the Museum. AE Gray & Co Ltd, Hanley, among the firms exhibiting (13 commercial potters, 65 studio potters).

1927
1928

February 22 – March 2, 1928
13th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London and at the Aerodrome, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham

P&GR 3.28 p73 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, Staffs, makers of Gloria lustre pottery, occupied this year a much bigger stand than at the last Fair. One of the many features at this stand was the employment of the old silver resist method for lustring in association with a modern design; No 7706 was an excellent design in coffee sets of this class. Another, No 7711, had a scheme of blue floreated motif, with brown in silver, lined out blue. The pale blue tone of flowers generally fine. In No 7712, the decoration comprised raspberry fruit and blue leaves with silver lustre. The coffee pots were invariably of fine shape; some of the handles had a red-tone finish. In tea ware, there was a very effective scheme of a red enamel border composed of flowers conventionally rendered, seen in pattern No 7207. Some new and sensibly designed nursery ware with deep border was shown. No 7742 expressing well decorative handling of trees and animals, in a main scheme of yellow, green and blue colourings; also available in various colours, with blue band at edge, and in red and green bandings. The chinaware is invariably hand-painted on the glaze; the earthenware treated with underglaze painted decorations. A fuchsia decoration in lustre treatment is worth noting by buyers interested in modern styles of decoration, with gay colourings, treated by competent painters.

PG 4.28 p624 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, who, in the arrangement of their stand, certainly strove hard to be noticed on the grounds of originality, displayed numerous styles of modernly decorated pottery for both utility and ornament.

1928
1929

February 18 – March 1, 1929
14th British Industries Fair

White City, Shepherds Bush, London and at the Aerodrome, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham

P&GR 2.29 p49 (Fair preview):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, of Hanley, will also have a good variety of decorative china services and many fancy goods, toy tea sets etc. They specialise in hand-painted wares.

P&GR 3.29 p77 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Hanley. A special feature here was the bizarre patterned coffee services, etc. somewhat Cubist in type, with blobs of colour and streaks, with the blues, greens and reds violently contrasted. Quieter in tone was a range of en-suite ware, on grey-blue body, with soft yet fresh effects of colour with hand-painted centre sprays. The black and silver lustre border treatment, with centre conventional spray, in coffee, tea, and dinner ware, showed sound decorative planning. The decorative plates were also good in this respect. There were some admirable shapes in jugs on an ivory body, with well balanced bright freehand-painted patterns.

PG 4.29 p606 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Hanley, china and earthenware decorators, showed new treatments in useful and ornamental goods, from tableware to toy tea sets, with special emphasis upon modern hand-paintings of simplicity and restraint.

PG 4.28 p624 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, who, in the arrangement of their stand, certainly strove hard to be noticed on the grounds of originality, displayed numerous styles of modernly decorated pottery for both utility and ornament.

1929
1929

November 9 – December 18, 1929
British Institute of Industrial Art – Autumn Exhibition
North Court, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

See the extract from the catalogue of exhibits.
There is an advertisement on page 106 (below).

BIIA1929-700

1929
1930

February 17 – 28, 1930
15th British Industries Fair

Olympia, London

P&GR 3.30 p79 (Fair review):
As usual Messrs AE Gray & Co Ltd had a stand which, in itself, was an exhibition of good artistic taste as well as originality in design. On the ware shown all the decorations were new since last year. Among the pretty display on the central table of unpolished and unstained oak there was some cream coloured ware with remarkable colour effects in orange, yellow and green, and some very neat blue-body ware. On one of the corner stands there was an elaborate and artistic pattern, 8625. In other parts, neatly arranged, there was a good variety in gay colours of all kinds of hand-decorated ware, including table-centres, electric lamps, vases, and toy tea sets, as well as utility ware.

PG 4.30 p606 (Fair review):
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, showed decorated services in both china and earthenware, on distinctive lines, decorated for the most part in free style and in gay colourings which can best be described as modernistic. Mr Gray’s stand was visited by Her Majesty the Queen, who commented favourably upon some designs executed in platinum, and particularly interesting to Her Majesty was a morning set on show, a replica of one that was presented to Princess Helena Victoria upon a recent visit to the Staffordshire Potteries.

1930
1930

May 19 – 24, 1930
Wedgwood Bicentenary celebrations – Exhibition of Modern Pottery
King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Souvenir programme:
AE Gray & Co Ltd – pottery in hand-painted silver, reminiscent of the traditional silver resist, but modern in design, also coffee sets, service plates, tea ware, etc. And useful tableware in hand-painted gay colours.

PG 7.30 p1132:
AE Gray & Co Ltd, Glebe Works, Mayer Street, Hanley, showed a series of interesting hand-painted decorations some of which were aptly combined with lustres. The freedom of style and gaiety of colouring by which many of the decorations were characterised were a feature of the exhibit.

1930
1930

‘Summer’ 1930
Barker’s store – Modern Pottery Exhibition
London

P&GR 6.30 p174:
On the occasion of her visit to the Modern Pottery Exhibition at the famous store of Barker’s, London, Her Majesty Queen Mary purchased some exquisite hand-painted tableware of the Summertime and Marsh Marigold patterns manufactured by Messrs AE Gray & Co Ltd, of Hanley, and two breakfast sets of patterns ….

1930
Scroll to Top