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2023 Annual Weekend and AGM
(Uploaded 22/06/23)

2023 Annual Weekend montage

Unboxing2 Unboxing1 Boxes are a wonderful thing at the start of a Shelley weekend. As each person arrives you are keen to know if their cardboard or plastic container holds items for one of the displays, something for the silent auction, treasures for the bring and buy sale or a hidden gem for the pot show. No matter how many years the Group has been holding these weekends there is always something you have never seen before. As friendships were renewed at the hotel in Telford the display shelves gradually filled.

Events began in the evening with registration and dinner followed by a quiz. Members were split into teams as host Olwen Dudgeon stimulated brains with a Shelley Word Search, an old -fashioned picture quiz, a celebrity recognition test and general knowledge questions  on a Blue theme, The overall winners were the Carnation team who enjoyed a box of chocolates as their reward.

The next morning the official business began with chairman Gerry Pearce welcoming members from abroad to the gathering

God save the King

First speaker was Carole Lockyer. Her “God Save the King” was an apt tribute to our new monarch based on the regal shapes of Royal and Windsor. “Between them they span the years of production from the times of Wileman and Foley to the end when the Shelley factory closed in the mid-sixties, illustrating the contrast of styles of both shape and pattern design,” she said.

Royal display

Royal, first produced in 1902 was used on three cup sizes, small coffee, tall coffee sometimes known as chocolate and teacups and can be identified by its ornate handle. There were also bouillon and moustache cups. Only in production until 1916 there are however more than 200 patterns recorded.

Windsor display
The Windsor shape was first introduced in 1934 but only for about a month but then reintroduced in 1950. Its production continued until 1965 with 80 patterns, many of them named and was available in tea, coffee and dinner sets. Both Royal and Windsor were also used as names on toilet sets.

John Barter Chicago talk

The next speaker was John Barter with The Chicago Exhibition 1893 based on and adapted from an earlier talk by Marcus Shelley. Also known as the Chicago World’s Fair it attracted 27 million visitors and for the first time, used electricity for lights, elevators and moving walkways. John speculated what the effect must have been on Percy Shelley seeing all the international exhibitors including the best ceramic production from companies such as Meissen, Villeroy and Bosch, Sevres, and Britain’s own Royal Worcester and Doulton as well as glass from Tiffany and others.

Chicago exhibition talk slides

Wileman produced souvenir plates based on the building plans sent out in advance of the fair. Percy was 33 at the time and clearly realised that the competition for the American market demanded a high-quality product. He could also see that Art Pottery was becoming popular with stunning exhibits from Rookwood at the forefront. He took note that consumers were purchasing goods that were not just essentials and realised that competing effectively required top artists, innovative designs and high-quality bone china for tableware. By 1896 he had recruited Frederick Rhead as Artistic Director and Wileman’s production of studio style pottery began.

Linda Ellis Vincent talk After a coffee break Linda Ellis spoke on the Vincent shape in memory of another former Committee member, the late Ian Davies.  Used for both First and Seconds Ware as well as Ideal China, there are more than 240 patterns and colour variations known and probably more not listed. Although there are Vincent milk jugs and sugar bowls there are no teapots, Globe or New York making up the sets and a Stanley shape coffee pot. In a Shelley sales catalogue of 1922 a teaset for 12 cost 144s 4d. Early teasets had round plates but square plates appear to have been introduced about 1929, although some of the Ideal patterns retain the round plate. Size of cups also varied over the decades perhaps as old moulds became worn and new ones replaced them, with the earlier teacups slightly smaller.

Vincent display 1 Vincent display2

David Cox Next was a journey to the Great Lakes and David Cox’s search for information on the Northern Navigation Company after discovering a Wileman plate with a tepee and lake scene. A subsequent purchase of further plates with steamships on them led him on a journey into social history. He discovered the company was Canadian and for a time the largest firm operating in passenger and freight on the Great Lakes.It was a tough life with the lakes only accessible for seven months of the year and unpredictable weather. He found in addition, of the 17 steamers owned by the NNC over 50 years, nine ended up on fire and burnt out. The Majestic, the Germanic and Saronic which are on David’s plates were among them, He was delighted to find the steamships in the pattern book and just as thrilled to find online a detailed booklet for the cruises in 1921.

NNC title slideNNC display

Gerry PearceFinally before lunch Gerry Pearce described the variations of Wileman and Shelley flowerpots. Only two terms appear to have been used in the records, pot and fern pot rather than planters. When Frederick Rhead joined Wileman he set about designing more attractive earthenware ranges and several pots appeared in the Faience and Intarsio ranges. The latter proved particularly popular and approximately 70 patterns are recorded in different styles and sizes, including pots with matching pedestals.Relatively few china flowerpots were made compared with earthenware but an early Shelley catalogue lists Crinkle fern pots in six sizes. Initially in white they were later also available in colour, shell shaped pots were also available in white and coloured. The earliest Wileman pot he found recorded was a small, fluted fern pot registered in 1890.


Tim Forrester talk

The afternoon session kicked off with Professor Tim Forrester and two students from the University of Staffordshire describing some of their work on the ceramics course. He said the aim is to encourage them “to make the ordinary extraordinary” and had brought some examples. Francesca Hartill , winner of the Ray Reynolds memorial Award and Brian Woods, who received the Shelley Bursary Award spoke passionately about their hopes for the future. Francesca had created a wonderful lamp in ceramics while Brian had brought a ceramic speaker he had invented as a special project.


At the Annual General Meeting Gerry said of the 209 members in the Group, 59 were from overseas and the Zoom talks had proved a great way of keeping in touch. Most new members are now recruited via the website. He said more people were needed to join the Committee and to fill some of the vacant posts. For example Linda had taken over as events officer on a temporary basis and was still in the post years later while no one had volunteered as the Midland representative, so members in that area had been spread to the other areas. He said Chris Davenport had now taken over as magazine editor and thanked David Deller for all his work in the past. He also thanked the speakers at the weekend, those who had brought items for the display and John and Linda who shad provided the shelf units for the displays which had helped keep down the costs of the weekend.

The treasurer, Linda Ellis said the Group had sufficient reserves to justify not increasing the subs but the meeting agreed there should be an option to increase the charge for overseas postage if needed. The committee was re-elected en bloc.

The silent auction was held before dinner with the usual mix of items on offer and after the bids were finished and deals done the ten per cent donation to the group was £74.80. Chairman Gerry Pearce was the after-dinner speaker describing growing up on the Isle of Wight, his work as a police diver and then his 18 months in the British Antarctic and subsequently in business supplying diving equipment for the North Sea etc.

Pot Show


Sunday morning brought the results of the Pot Show. First was Steve Palmer with his 'Ring a Ring of Roses', second was Linda Ellis with 'Help, I need some Shelley' and unusually there were three joint thirds, Sheila Aves with a 'Starry Night' Tribute to Vincent and two entries from Howard Ward, 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' and 'The Welsh Tea Party'.


John Barter described items brought by members for the “snake” this year starting using W from Wileman after working through the letters of Shelley at previous weekends. These ranged from a Henry Wileman willow pattern plate to a wild flowers butter dish, a Merry Wives of Windsor jug to a Welsh hat, even an Intarsio vase featuring wimples sneaked into the line-up. This is an excellent way for everyone to join in the display.


Chris Davenport showed some more fascinating entries from Ray Reynolds’s scrapbook which was in the room on display. These included the ski-ing lady illustration,  numerous postcards used on scenic pieces, the 1902 Coronation emblem,  Burns Cottage and Friars Crag, and the Yorkshire Man’s Coat of Arms. The Valuation and Inventory book was also on display.


Adam Lovejoy

After the pot show prizes were presented Adam Lovejoy described the designs and shapes produced by Shelley and Mabel Lucie Attwell between 1927 and 1959, featured in his new book. Already well-known as an illustrator of chubby cheeked children and little fairies known as Boo Boos she was commissioned by Shelley to produce a series of drawings from which an initial six were chosen. The first recorded advertisement for the series appeared in the Pottery Gazette in 1926 urging retailers to stock up.

Mabel Lucie Attwell display

Each design was given a different colour trim which initially was used on all the pieces produced carrying that particular design. At the same time the novelty Boo Boo mushroom teaset was released. A second series was released in 1929 known as the animal series with a third and fourth following. Also produced were chamber pots, serviette rings and a different novelty teaset. Adam said as well as 32 main designs multiple part designs were used on the smaller items while special commissions were also produced. Copies of his book were extremely popular full of information on the topic.

raffle prize

After lunch there was a Bring and Buy sale which raised at least £49.00 for group funds, with a further £185 from the raffle for a vase decorated by Ray which went to Elaine Whittaker.

coronation cake .
Filling the gap left by our sadly missed baker Enid Foley, the hotel had done an excellent job of making a coronation cake for us with a Crown on top which was later cut for Sunday tea before the end of another successful weekend gathering.

2022 Annual Weekend & AGM