Real bottle

George Cook
Nationality of Designer
Ambleside Pottery
Manufacturers Location
Ambleside, Cumbria, England (UK)
Height 28cm
Purchase Price


A stoneware bottle with modernist decoration.


Signed to base. Purchased from eBay by Adam Sutherland.

Personal history/nominator

"I first saw this pottery at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside, a small museum with a wonderful library and extensive collection of fascinating locally related art works including Beatrix Potter drawings, Kurt Schwitters paintings and collage, Keswick School of Industrial Arts, and someof the more spectacular works of George Cook and the Ambleside pottery amongst the highlights"

Adam Sutherland



Why it's in the Collection

The bottle is a local product of some integrity which is reason enough to include it in the Collection. It is categorised under the Branded collection as an example of a rare and honest local brand that is actually produced in Ambleside by George Cook who was born, brought up and worked there. This piece could have just as easily been listed in the category When modernism goes bad as a scarce local example of that style.

About the Designer/Maker

George Cook ran the Ambleside pottery from the early 1950’s to 1968 developing a refined technique not dissimilar to Lucy Rie and Hans Coper. He was brought up in the area and his brothers ran local hotels. Cook’s masterwork was the bar at his brother’s Crooklands Hotel, sadly lost in a renovation to turn the hotel into a local farmyard/bygone conference facility. There are still a few of Cook’s pieces there that have slipped into the spurious world of ‘redundant equipment’ and are now mistakenly displayed as obscure farmyard memorabilia. Cook sold the Pottery to Brian Jackson in 1968 after which became ever more tourist orientated, employing local painters and producing some truly horrific mugs. The most dreadful ones are those by acclaimed local scene painter Jill Aldersley, whose mass- produced quaint scenes of Lake District farms and landscapes can be found across the world.

The pottery closed in the 1980’s.

About the Manufacturer

Ambleside pottery was a popular landmark in the town from the 50's through to its closure. The pottery in its early days produced stoneware pottery before turning to earthenware as a brighter and cheaper mode of ware. The distinctive style, based on scraffito through a manganese glaze (also employed by Lucie Rie) was developed by George Cook and continued as the house style after Cook's retirement.

Bibliography & Further information

Armitt Museum
"In their words the Museum reflects local culture, I couldn’t agree more" Adam Sutherland

Crooklands Hotel
Their website seems to heavily feature young girls grasping beer taps.

Jill Aldersley

for all your farmyard bygone requirements