Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Denby Pottery Collectibles & Tableware

Discountinued Denby Pottery

The story of Denby Pottery collectables really starts back in 1806 when, in Derbyshire, a new road was being built to improve communications between the county’s growing industrial towns. The route was to pass through the parish of Denby, a small village near Ripley, just fifteen miles from Chatsworth House. In the course of ground-works for the new road a seam of clay was discovered under Denby.

An enterprising local business man by the name of William Bourne examined the clay and realised that it was of a quality ideal for the manufacture of pottery. He had a pit dug to extract the clay and set up a pottery consisting of just one kiln and a works hut. He delegated the running of this fledgling business to his son Joseph and it went by the name of Joseph Bourne.

Production started in 1809 of salt glazed pottery, mainly bottles and jars. These containers were used for a variety of products including ginger beer, medicines and polishes. They soon established an international reputation for fine quality at a time when that still mattered even for such mundane items.

Salt glazing was a popular finish for this type of pottery, known as stoneware, and the process was simple. When the kiln fire embers were at their maximum temperature, salt was thrown onto them. The salty vapours which resulted were absorbed by the surface of the pottery and created a smooth, shiny brown finish. These bottles and jars are certainly collectable today but they are very rare since, once empty, most would be discarded and get broken.

By the end of the nineteenth Century changes in the manufacture of glass had made glass bottles, previously prohibitively expensive, cheap to produce and they soon replaced the ceramic containers produced by Joseph Bourne, or Denby Pottery as the company was now called.

Fortunately Joseph was as astute as his father and had seen this coming. His response was to concentrate on expanding a range of kitchenware they already had in production. These products were finished in the brightly coloured glazes that today’s collectors know as a trademark of Denby Pottery collectibles.

By the time peace returned to the land after World War I and life had settled back to something like normal in the 1920s, many homes across Britain boasted kitchenware by Denby. Pie dishes, colanders even and jelly moulds, were among the useful items that bore the stamp of "Danesby Ware," Denby Pottery’s new name for the ranges of giftware and other decorative pottery for which it was already famous. Tobacco jars, bowls and decorative vases were popular, as were hot water bottles in those pre-central heating days.

Come the 1930s and some more well known collectibles had joined the Denby ranges. The glossy blue "Electric Blue" and the matt brown and blue Orient Ware have been regarded as classic giftware collectables by collectors ever since.

Right up to the 1980s, the even more colourful Cottage Blue, Homestead Brown and Manor Green kitchenware retained their popularity even after the big changes in the 1950s when Denby’s emphasis shifted to tableware including cups, saucers and plates. One thing that didn’t change was Denby’s employment of the best designers available with the result that the transition not only went smoothly but produced more highly collectible items like "Echo" and "Ode" in 1950," Greenwheat" in 1956, followed in 1961 by "Studio" and "Arabesque" in 1964. "Arabesque" is known in the United States as "Samerkand".

Denby continued to keep abreast of the times and the latest developments and in the 1970s were at the cutting edge of development of revolutionary "oven to table" ware which soon became fashionable. Food could now be cooked and taken to the table in the same dish. Denby’s designs were not only practicable with their ability to withstand oven temperatures, day in-day out, their striking designs were decorative enough to grace any table. Collectable examples today would be "Gypsy "and" Troubadour" from 1971 or "Cotswold" introduced in 1973.

In the 1980s people’s lifestyles were changing again and more casual dining was becoming fashionable. Denby were not slow to recognise the trend and introduced ranges which suited either the new informal gatherings or the traditional type of formal dinner parties equally well. Examples well known to collectors today are "Regency Green" and "Imperial Blue".

That Denby Pottery continues to thrive in its third century is largely due to its having remained true to the principles established very early on. Producing the finest quality wares to ground breaking designs has proved a great recipe for success.

On each of the pages within this section dedicated to Denby Pottery collectibles we have included links to live and current online auctions dealing in each theme. In addition, where known, we have added details of collector clubs, forums and websites. We wish you every success in tracking down the missing pieces of your discontinued Denby Pottery collection and hope you will become a regular visitor to Accumulations. Remember it’s an ever-changing scene so it is always worth a return visit!

If you are interested in a specific type or genre of Denby Pottery collectible, click on one of the following links:-

ArabesqueGlyn ColledgeTableware

Please also check out the Denby Pottery Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed on this page.

Useful Resources

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