Wemyss Ware

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse writes….

Wemyss ware was first produced by the Fife pottery in Kirkcaldy, Fife in 1882 and was the invention of Robert Heron, pottery owner and Karel Nekola, an incredibly gifted designer and decorator from Bohemia (Czech Republic). The name comes from the Wemyss family of the Wemyss castle who were very enthusiastic patrons of the new wares.

Wemyss Ware
Wemyss Ware

In 1932, production moved to Bovey Pottery in Devon and under the direction of Joseph Nekola, Karel’s son, they continued to make Wemyss Ware until the pottery’s closure in 1957, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Wemyss took inspiration from the British countryside with very naturalistic designs including flowers, fruits, birds and animals but is probably most famous or recognisable for their cabbage rose designs and their range of cat and pig figures. Although the pottery was successful in its day, popularity has been cemented by collectors, who included the Queen Mother, with rare examples of Wemyss ware realising high prices at auction.

The pigs are a particular favourite of collectors with some being more prized and so more expensive to acquire. The larger pigs, up to 45cm, are very sought after with the green shamrocks and the cabbage rose decorations being the most desirable. The pigs were designed for children’s nurseries in wealthy stately homes being sold exclusively by Thomas Goode in Mayfair. A whole range were produced; some had slots for money, some were personalised with dates and names, some were very small paperweight-sized and of course some much larger. The bright, bold and colourful designs stood out against a stark white background making these enchanting pigs very appealing to the eye.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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