Frequently Asked Questions

The key dates are: started in 1907; registered in 1912; moved from Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent to Stoke-upon-Trent, Stoke-on-Trent in 1933; purchased by Susan Williams-Ellis in 1960; became Portmeirion Pottery in 1962.

Further reading: website section A E Gray

AE Gray & Co Ltd (Gray’s Pottery) and Kirkhams Ltd were purchased by Susan Williams-Ellis in 1960/61, becoming the foundation for Portmeirion Potteries Ltd. Since then the Portmeirion Group has grown with the acquisition of the Spode and Royal Worcester brands among others.

The Gray’s Pottery website does not offer valuations and does not record sales information. The market for antiques depends on so many factors as well as on the country in which the seller/buyer is interested. An approach to a local auction house or antiques dealer is often a good place to start an enquiry, ideally someone with a knowledge of, and interest in, 20th century decorative arts.

An impossible question to answer. If only one pot of a particular pattern was ever made, perhaps as a sample, and it survives, then it’s rare. If 1000 were made and only one survives, that’s rare too.

No production or sales records survive from the company and so it is not possible to answer this. References on the website to particular patterns being popular are purely based on the evidence of the number of recorded examples.

Please see the website section Designers, Susie Cooper for a detailed appraisal of what Miss Cooper may, or may not, have created while at Gray’s Pottery from 1922-1929. One thing is certain, any pattern with a letter prefix will not be a Cooper design, though there are a few patterns created after 1930 which are a ‘re-interpretation’ of what may be earlier Cooper designs (see 7507/A7507 as examples).

Further reading: website section Designers, Susie Cooper

North America was certainly an important market, as was Australia and New Zealand: basically traditional English-speaking ‘past-colonial’ markets. Nevertheless Gray’s pots have been discovered in many parts of the world, including Japan, Russia and Israel as well as most European countries.

No, at least not from any manufacturing concern. You need to keep an eye on auction sales, auction sites, antiques/bric-a-brac shops, garage and boot sales etc.

This was referred to as a Castle jug at Gray’s Pottery (see the website section Retailers, North America – USA, Skinners for more information). Almost 200 different designs have been recorded on these small jugs, half of them in North America, a sign they were extremely popular – for reasons unknown!

Further reading: website section Retailers, North America – USA, Skinners

Pattern A7894, dating from the period 1939-45, seems to be the first use by Gray’s Pottery of a humidor/tobacco jar. It is likely that they were sourced undecorated from a Derbyshire potter, perhaps Pearson of Chesterfield. Three different shapes were used, covering the period up to the late 1950s, and these were decorated with transfer prints at the start and progressively with covercoat lithographs as time passed. Many examples have been recorded with the name Dunhill as part of the backstamp and many of the pots are located in North America.

The definitive book is Portmeirion Pottery by Steven Jenkins and Stephen P McKay, Richard Dennis Publications 2000, ISBN 0903685787. Additionally there is Portmeirion Pottery by Will Farmer and Rob Higgins, Shire Publications 2012, ISBN-13 978 0747810551 and there is a small handbook The Story of Portmeirion Potteries by Victoria Stanton and Euan Cooper-Willis, produced by the company in 1995, ISBN 0952518007.

The only comprehensive document is the 64-page book originally produced for the exhibition of Gray’s Pottery at The Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1982 and now out-of-print. Although the factual content is largely unchanged, this Gray’s website supersedes and enhances the text of the book. Some material on Gray’s Pottery exists in publications majoring on 20th century design, on ceramic tableware or on designers etc. but, by their very nature, these are summaries.

Scroll to Top