Founded by Richard Dudson in 1800, the original pottery was a very small cottage industry producing ornaments and tableware. Very few archives were kept but two order books dated 1844 list flat-baked ornaments and a set of figurines featuring the four seasons. However, in the late 1980s – mid 1990s the original site was to be redeveloped to become a town museum and, during the excavations of the land, 1000s of pottery shards were discovered. From these often minute shards of china the history of Dudson pottery has been painstakingly put together. From these scraps of designs, shapes and colours a picture was built up from which whole examples were sought at auctions and other sales. These included fine examples of Jasper Ware said to rival Wedgwood and unusual Victorian black Ebony decorative items. These are now displayed in the Dudson Museum, suitably housed in a former brick-built kiln on the original site.
The pottery today, 216 years later, is still a family-run business with 500 employees headed by the 9th generation of the Dudson family.
In the late 1800’s long distance travel was rapidly developing with luxury trains and transatlantic liners carrying wealthy passengers on lengthy journeys. Dudsons, now headed by J Thomas, realized there was a very lucrative market emerging – for a wide range of china, personalized for each company with crests etc, in distinctive shapes and predominately white. This is Dudsons business now, making an extensive range of tableware for the leisure industry ranging from mugs in high-street coffee shop chains to very stylish dinnerware for cruise ships.
Designer Alison Morgan creates unique ceramic art inspired by iconic skylines and featuring some well-known and loved landmarks such as the London Eye and the bottle ovens of Stoke-on-Trent. Each vibrant item is individually hand-decorated and signed; no two being the same, and they are equally suitable for decorative or light functional use.
Alison moved to Stoke-on-Trent in 1969 to study ceramics, and remained in the city to pursue a career in the subject. She has a degree in ceramics and is an accomplished potter, designer and teacher, having lectured and presented seminars on pottery techniques throughout the UK and Europe for over twenty years. Her practical skills have been further enhanced by more recent studies in the USA. She is also the Curator of The Dudson Ceramics Museum in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where her passion for the history of Staffordshire figures has resulted in the co-authorship of a recently published book on the subject.
Alison’s vibrant Cityscapes original ceramic art is already attracting much interest from galleries, museum shops and contemporary retailers.