Mortlake Potteries

Two potteries operated in Mortlake, Sanders and Kishere. The earlier was that owned by John Sanders and run by his son William from 1745. On his death in 1758 the copyhold was bequeathed to William. William died in 1784 and his son John took over. John took a partner and traded as Sanders and Vernon from about 1786. From 1794 there was a series of lessees, Thomas Norriss, Pressick Dodd, William Wagstaff and finally John Wisker who, in 1823, transferred production to the Glasshouse Street, Vauxhall pottery originally established by John Sanders back in 1742.

The second Mortlake factory again had a Sanders connection. Benjamin Kishere had worked for John Sanders at Mortlake and possibly first at Vauxhall. His son Joseph was apprenticed to William Sanders but set up his own pottery about 1797. After his death in 1834, his son William took over. William died in 1843 and after a short-lived ownership by Thomas Abbott the pottery closed for good.

Mortlake Products

There is still a great deal of uncertainty about what was made at Mortlake and by which pottery. A large proportion of the Sanders output may have been delftware, the only recorded marked pieces being pill tiles. Robin Hildyard 1 has recorded a number of typical Mortlake jugs, with silver tops, marked with dates starting in 1783 and including 1784, 1786 and 1793. These clearly predate the foundation of the Kishere Pottery. There appears to be a seamless transition from these early dated examples to later ones that must have been made by the Kisheres. This might suggest that the changes in ownership of the Sanders Pottery from 1794, with a possible concentration on the manufacture of Delftware, encouraged Benjamin Kishere to take their stoneware moulds and sprigs for use in his own establishment.

The sprigging on Mortlake jugs and tankards follows the tradition of those made from the early 18th century with a central sprigged plaque on the upper part and a hunting scene on the lower part. Manufacture of these is attributed to Vauxhall and Bristol 2. The adoption, during the 1780s of the baluster shape and the distinctive two tone colouration seems unique to Mortlake but the virtual identity of their tankards to much earlier examples suggests that some of the 1750s and 1760s dated examples might also have been made there.

1 The Earliest Mortlake Hunting Jug?, Robin Hildyard, English Pottery Studies In Honour Of Jonathan Horne, Paul Holberton publishing 2011
2 Dated London brown saltglazed Hunting Mugs 1713-75, W. Hamilton-Foyn, English Ceramic Circle, V12/2 (2000)

Mortlake Plaques

A page collating all of the Mortlake plaques, that I have recorded, can be linked to by clicking on the button below. Some, such as Punch Party and Two Boors are common but other much less so. Some were also later used as "normal" sprigs without being in the form of a plaque.

Marked Kishere

An attempt to illustrate every known variant of Kishere signed work using hunting / drinking sprigs can be linked to by clicking on the button below.

Not Mortlake

Nicholas Johnson has looked at the successors to Sanders and attempted to follow the trail from Mortlake to Vauxhall. This could be extremely valuable as the 19th century Vauxhall production has been largely ignored because of the lack of signed pieces. His suggestions can be seen on the Research Page.

A small number of jugs have been recorded bearing plaques, but not appearing to be from Mortlake. More work is needed.

It seems likely that a series of finely sprigged mugs and jugs, sometimes attributed to Mortlake, might be Scottish. More work is needed.