Celtic pottery (Newlyn & Mousehole)

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Post by Celtic_Fan September 28th 2023, 12:42 am

22 Crawford St. wrote:For me it's just how they decided to trim out of the mould. If you watch this video then you will see him doing it to a small cat. I'm assuming it was the same plaster mould techniques at Celtic?

It's also white earthenware. I wonder if it's suited to casting. There are also some interesting bits like I did not know they stick bits back on!

I've been thinking whether to respond to this with my thoughts and as no one else has, I will.
Good to see actual slip moulding in progress. I did see it in action at the Cobridge Stoneware open days, but that was a long time ago.

I do not believe that this explains the lack of a base on many Celtic cats and bulls. You'll notice in this clip he is 'only' clearing out the filling hole, so it's sharp. He's not actually cutting off the base and his cat still has a flat base.

But there are other reasons.
All the early Mousehole Cats and Bulls, have an open base. Most of the later Newlyn Cats and Bulls have the flat base with a hole (as in that clip). I have seen a few open based cats with a Newlyn label, but these could be very early change over or even old stock.

For the Bulls, there are some very subtle changes in shape and sharpness of features with most of the open based examples I have - which suggests a different mould to the 'closed' base ones. Also, I heard from one of Bills Sons that the very early ones were Press Moulded - which would require an open based mould.

With the Cats the earliest ones which have the more abstract black designs are slightly smaller in all proportions and all have an open base. I have one with the regular Celtic Pottery style on an open based cat, but this again is very slightly smaller. Most of the Newlyn open based cats with the regular Celtic designs are basically the same as the closed ones although I believe these Newlyn open based cats to be far less in number than the closed base ones. So I suspect they are either early in the Newlyn production or I guess they may have occasionally 'messed up' a base and so trimmed it down a little??
I don't think I've ever seen a Mousehole label on a closed base.

Another difference I've noticed is that the open based cats (that I have) are all glazed on the inside, whilst the 'closed' base ones aren't - why would they have done this differently depending on how they finished the base?
The bulls are a little different on this, as my 'closed base' bulls do seem to have a very thin and patchy covering of glaze on the inside.

As we know, when Celtic Pottery moved to Newlyn and Ev joined Maggie, he introduced a different glaze type/process. So perhaps a change in Mould type was also introduced?

For my money, the different bases are on the whole a sign of different production periods.
However, if anyone has an early Mousehole cat with this closed base, please do show.
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Post by Celtic_Fan October 28th 2023, 1:01 pm

A Mousehole period Dish, Signed by Bill.
I think it's a very early one - the white is very thin/pale and allows other colour to show through it.
There is virtually nothing left of the label and no surface to give any indication of what it once said.

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Post by Celtic_Fan November 21st 2023, 12:23 pm

denbydump wrote:Hi there. I always had a feeling this more monochrome palette was earlier.
I've been meaning to correct this speculation for some time, but kept forgetting.
But as it has now started to appear as fact in ebay listing (even saying mousehole time period), I thought I'd better do it before this becomes 'mainstream fact'.

This monochrome colour was just a colour that was done alongside the more colourful yellow (gold) and blue (turquoise).
As stated in the description for the FOLK range in this image.
I'm not certain of the date, but I believe it to be mid 70's (certainly 70's)
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Post by dantheman November 21st 2023, 7:46 pm

I always wondered what the black background colour was
Funny that they misspelt matte though Doh!

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Post by Celtic_Fan April 12th 2024, 3:49 pm

Has anyone ever seen, or heard of, a 2nd style of Celtic Pottery cat?

I hadn't, until I found this at an auction.
It was part of a job lot of cat ceramics and although it has a label, the pottery wasn't mentioned.
Thankfully the auction house did a very good job of packing!! I don't think it actually needed the double boxing I requested.

It's huge, at 32cm tall and weighs about 1350g. A regular Celtic cat can fit inside this thing.

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It also has a dated label stuck inside. I'm guessing, that this may have been done by the person who bought it originally, maybe to remind themselves of when and where they bought it, or to remember the holiday they had? But the date is too precise, to be a guess by a later dealer - in my opinion.
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Being an early Newlyn item, I wonder why it's so rare.
Could it have been just too large and so expensive and so didn't sell well?
Could it have been an exhibition piece?

I wonder if we'll ever know and if we'll ever see another?


Last edited by Celtic_Fan on April 12th 2024, 6:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by denbydump April 12th 2024, 4:03 pm

A second or third-hand story from decades ago. When someone visited the
then already closed pottery, and managed to peer into the workshop, and
sat on the shelf were lots of unfinished blanks, including, as I remember
being told, some large cats, which nobody had ever seen before.
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Post by Celtic_Fan April 12th 2024, 4:19 pm

Thanks.
You replied whilst I was still editing to enter the photo's. I was having trouble with thumb nail images. I clicked enter instead of preview.

I thought I'd read about something being seen by someone looking through the window after it closed. But can't find the article. But at last, one has turned up!
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Post by denbydump April 12th 2024, 7:32 pm

Found it! The article was in the Antiques Info magazine around 1998/99 by
Joan Witham, who I knew quite well at the time.
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Post by Celtic_Fan April 12th 2024, 9:08 pm

Ah, is that where it is. I'll have to look again, as I was mostly looking through Collect It.
Thanks.
Shame she didn't take any photo's. I'd have loved to see what she could see.

EDIT - Finally found it. July/August edition 1998. Page 52.
The briefest of mentions on Celtic, but ......a fine, large plump cat......
Sounds like this one.

So if this one was bought in 1970 and others sat on the shelf until closure in 1984 - WHY aren't there more of them????
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