The Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review
January 1, 1932 Page 59-61
Amongst the progressive earthenware producing houses of the present time a firm which stands out quite prominently, chiefly by reason of its changed outlook, is John Steventon & Sons Ltd, of the Royal Pottery, Market Place, Burslem, Stock-on-Trent.
There is good reason, we think, for making use of the words 'changed outlook', for it is, indeed, remarkable how different in the range of wares being produced by this house nowadays from that which was the result of their activities within the earlier memory of the present generation. It is little more than ten years ago, in fact, since the productions of this firm were almost wholly concerned with domestic earthenware of the most competitive types. But there have been marvellous changes since them.
Coming to more recent times, one can say that it became definitely noticed by the retail trade some five or six years ago that some conspicuous alterations were taking place in regard to the character of the goods supplied by this house. We ourselves called the attention of our readers about the time mentioned to the fact that a newer style of decorations less cautious and restrained, was taking the place of the rather "set" ornamentations which had hitherto held sway. Furthermore, it was apparent that countless new articles were being modelled, as well as a number of new shapes en suite. Simultaneously, there was a marked improvement in the technical qualities of the ware; which all seemed to reveal that the firm was rapidly changing over from what had once been a prosaic and assuredly competitive trade to something more individualistic and of a higher character.
This leads us to say something in regard to the improved status of the firm in the distributing trades. It would be true to say that, nowadays, one finds the wares of this house in many of the high class china shops of the provinces, whilst one also notices that in the West End of London they accorded a prominent place in the windows and departments. Quite recently, in fact, Her Majesty the Queen purchased pottery produced by John Steventon & Sons Ltd, at two separate London pottery displays. Again it has not passed unnoticed that in some of the more important provincial cities, such as Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle-on-Tyne and Edinburgh, some fairly important displays of this firm's productions have recently been made..
In this present notice it is our desire to call special attention to a new range of table ware which has been produced by John Steventon & Sons Ltd, known s "Floretta" ware. This is a very attractive new line which has obviously entailed great expense in the modelling, since the whole appeal of the ware lies in the fact that it is a combination of art modelling and hand painting in naturalistic pastel shades. The final effect is greatly enhanced by the employment of a remarkably brilliant glaze. The new "Florretta" ware which is available in a long list of table articles, is certainly deserving of the special notice of trade buyers who will learn with interest that this is the particular pattern which has specially appealed on two recent occasions to Queen Mary, and thereby resulted in Royal purchases.
In the dinner ware one notices that two new shapes have been modelled, the "Portman" and the "Oxford", and these show up wonderfully well in the new ivory glaze. The "Portman" shape is the most decorative of the two, and it shows up to great advantage when treated with simple bands of colour in combination with neat and judicious gilding. The " Oxford" shape is wonderful in its simplicity, and the striking feature of it is that both the flat and hollow ware have been modelled on 'china lines'. The plate has a flat rim, and in the tea ware the cups have a delicately turned foot. We are given to understand that although this "Oxford" shape has not been more than two or three months it has sold extremely well, both in London and the country, and is proving a worthy companion of the "Portman".
One could write at great length about the new decorations which John Steventon & Sons Ltd, have produced for the trade in 1932. There is certainly a big range of new patterns, suitable to all markets; but we are assured that it is the firm's intention to make a particular effort to interest both old and new customers in the "Floretta" range, which is steadily being further extended. Already, we are told, over 120 articles have been modelled.
We would like to mention that whilst in the firm's showroom we were also particularly interested in a new range of figures based upon the old rhyme "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor". These reveal wonderful detail in the modelling; the colourings, too, are striking, and carried out for the most part in warm, low tones, We believe it is the intention to mount these figures on ebonite plinths.
As regards the selling arrangements of John Steventon & Sons Ltd, we must mention, in conclusion, that the firm maintains an excellent display of current samples at Union Bank Buildings, Ely Place, EC4, whilst from Birmingham northwards by Mr W.T.Davies. The south ground, excluding the London suburbs, is covered by Mr John Steventon. All the important centres are catered for as regards the home trade, and residential agents take care of the business of the trade in overseas markets.