As I drive across this wonderful county of ours in search of the Antique, I listen to all sorts of things in my car. Spotify, library books on line, a somewhat selective approach to radio two, local radio, radio four and radio four extra, to name but a few. Last week I happened to be listening to a program about successful entrepreneurs who have made it very big. It seemed to me that each had a very good starting idea and were in the right place at the right time, but they all had something else. To use an unfortunate phrase, they had an ‘X’ factor.
In the world of the Antique, one such man was Adolphus Goss. Well, Adolphus, bless him, made the most of the late Victorians and their sudden love for seaside travel. He gave them all something to buy and take home from their seaside excursions. He gave them crested ware.
W. H. Goss & Co first produced crested ware in 1888 from their “Falcon Works”
pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. A typical piece of Goss crested ware had a white,
creamy glaze and a coloured transfer of a Coat of Arms. A genuine Goss has a
printed mark, featuring an image of a falcon above the name “W. H. GOSS.”
Hundreds of different pieces were made from traditional vases to top hats, clogs
and tiny kettles.
The success of their heraldic china souvenir business was huge, with large scale production needed to meet high demand. It is believed that by 1910, approximately 90% of homes had a piece of Goss crested ware adorning their mantelpiece or sideboard. Adolphus Goss built up a huge network of Goss agents across the country to market and sell their crested ware. It began with the up- and-coming seaside resorts, but very quickly every town and city had its arms produced on Goss china ready for the tourist trade.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering in auction, or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website.
Carrying out chattels valuations sees me traveling all over the region and last Saturday I was in the beautiful Cathedral town of Ripon (where £2.00 sees you safely parked for 24 hours) to visit the property of an older lady who has now gone into a home. This lady loved her Goss china, but sadly she is in the minority these days. Could this be the time to invest?
William Henry Goss was chief designer at the Spode works in Stoke-on-Trent by the time he was twenty-five, but he was not happy and decided to branch out on his own.In the 1880’s, Williams son, Adolphus, joined the company. He was no potter, but he was an ideas man with a flare for marketing. His father had been producing specially commissioned commemorative pieces bearing heraldic emblems and he saw an opportunity to expand.
Adolphus realised that such wares would make great souvenirs for the mass market who, taking
advantage of increased wages, were taking more holidays and day tripping on the growing railway
network. He worked his way round the country over the next 20 years making contacts until he had
a network of more than 1000 local agents. Each agent was responsible for promoting their local
coats of arms which could be put on up to 600 small, mass produced named models. The local
agents could ask for their symbols to be placed on just about anything.
Goss also produced a popular series of hand painted buildings, known as the Goss Cottages;
examples included Shakespeare’s House and Robert Burns’ birthplace. However the heraldic
crested wares still made up the bulk of the company’s sales. These wares became less popular
after the First World War and in 1929 the Goss family sold out to a competitor Arcadian China.
Standards slowly fell and eventually the factory closed in 1944.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website