Mallet vase

William Howson Taylor
Nationality of Designer
Ruskin Pottery
Manufacturers Location
Smethwick, Birmingham, England (UK)
Height 28cm
Purchase Price




Purchased on eBay by Adam Sutherland.

Personal history/nominator

“No Ruskin collection would be complete without a few pieces of Ruskin Pottery – both Brantwood and the Ruskin Museum feature collections. The Pottery had no real connection with Ruskin, it merely had permission to use his name and the bulk of production was carried out well after Ruskin’s death. I like the tenuous connection and the idea that the pottery and its production is somehow connected to and endorsed by Ruskin - so grey. I particularly like the lamp stands made early in the days of electricity, an uncomfortable fusion of modernity and craft. The Pottery was essentially/principally Art Deco in its style.” Adam Sutherland


Flea bite chip to neck and short hairline crack

Why it's in the Collection

The work falls into the Branded category as a tasteful version of the celebrity endorsement. It is so tastefully done it could almost be made by Ruskin. Please see, Ruskin Cigar Box and Ruskin Lamp base also in the Lawson Park collection.

About the Designer/Maker

William Howson Taylor (1876 – 1935) founded the Birmingham Tile and Pottery Works in 1898 with his father, Edward Taylor. In 1902 Howson Taylor renamed the pottery after his idol, John Ruskin, as he believed they held similar ideals of quality and beauty with an apparent respect for individuals within his factories.

Howson Taylor was influenced by Dresser and Japanese design, specialising in exotic glazes and high fired flambé wares. Many of his pieces were re-glazed multiple times with bases often ‘ground off’. In a most ungracious act Howson Taylor, determined that his special effects remained a secret, took his miracle glaze recipes to the grave with him. Many of the fabled glazes are just multiple dipping and the flambé and high fired glazes where attempts to replicate existing Chinese and Japanese glazes which are now available in any high street glaze store.

Bibliography & Further information

History of the Ruskin Pottery

The Victorian Vision of China and Japan


John Ruskin Museum

More information on Ruskin