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Shelley History - The People

Rowland Morris (c.1842 - 1898)

Rowland Morris was the first known designer to be employed by Percy Shelley, although it is not certain whether he was wholly employed or worked freelance. He had been a pupil of the famous French sculptor, M. Hughes Protat, who was the modeling master at the Stoke and Hanley Schools of Art. Morris then gained a place at the National Art Training School in South Kensington. In 1870 he undertook some important work for the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, where he modeled dainty white advertterracotta panels depicting the months of the year and a series of panels illustrating the process of potting. These are on the facade of the building and can still be seen today. After this he returned to various pottery firms designing china. An exact date when Morris started to work for Wileman is unknown, but in March 1896 one of his designs was entered into the design registry. The registered number 272101 was for the ‘Dainty’ shape which was to have a major impact for the company as this became the most popular design that the company was to produce. Morris was assisted by M. Maxime Avoine, another French modeller working in the U.K. pottery industry, in the task of creating the original moulds for the Dainty White range which was considered to amount to approximately 100 pieces. At first it was available only in plain white but as its popularity grew, decoration was applied to the ware and it was also used for commemorative celebrations. The Dainty shape was still being produced when the factory was taken over in 1966 so it was in production for 70 years. The Dainty shape proved to be very popular in the USA after the 2nd World War.