Carlton Walking Ware

Carlton Ware was produced in a factory in Stoke from 1890 but it was a ceramics company that went through many ups and downs. Arthur Wood & Sons bought the company in 1967 and by the early 1970s it was in real difficulties. It could be said that Danka Napiorkowska and Roger Michell and their wonderful Walking Ware saved the company.

A Pair of Carlton Ware Pottery Vases, of globular form, painted and gilt with the Fantasia pattern with stylised swallows on a matt grey/blue ground. Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £720 in 2013
A Pair of Carlton Ware Pottery Vases, of globular form, painted and gilt with the Fantasia pattern with stylised swallows on a matt grey/blue ground. Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £720 in 2013

The first Walking Tea Set was designed and made in 1973 by Napiorkowska and Michell in their tiny private studio called Lustre Pottery in Malton. The idea saw two little legs added to all elements of a tea set with brightly coloured Mary Jane shoes (children’s shoes with one thin strap fastened with a button or buckle) and equally as vibrant socks. The first range of Walking Ware produced consisted of teapots, sugar bowl, milk jug, coffee or water jug, soup bowl, mug, salt, pepper, plate, biscuit -barrel and egg cup.

Vintage 1970s Carlton Ware Lustre eggcup
Vintage 1970s Carlton Ware Lustre eggcup

The success of Walking Ware was huge and often put down to its ability to capture the freedom and the sense of new found optimism of the 1970s. The success meant that Lustre Pottery couldn’t keep up with demand so it made an agreement with Carlton Ware that they would manufacture the wares. This simultaneously secured Walking Wares’ future and saved Carlton Ware from bankruptcy.

The Walking Ware range was quickly extended to include the RJS series; Running, Jumping and Standing Still and the Big Foot range with over-sized feet in polka dot socks. They became expert at meeting the high demands for these novelty items including producing one-offs such as the Queen’s Silver Jubilee kneeling mug and cups for both Charles and Diana following their marriage.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website