The Crown Devon Papers


This site is a repository for numerous essays I have written for publications over time and for essays I have written purely to record details of this incredible company's output before memories fade.

It is intended to support rather than compete with Crown Devon collectors clubs.

Information about Crown Devon is not all that easy to come by, as I have discovered during two decades of collecting, and so this blog is here to save the enthusiast some legwork and indeed frustration.

Time does not permit me to engage in much conversation with blog readers and I would urge you to join Fieldings Crown Devon Collectors Club on the web if you have queries and wish to interact with other Crown Devon aficionados.

Enjoy your Crown Devon collecting and consider becoming obsessed! The rewards are many.

Enoch Boulton - An Unsung Hero of British Populist Art Deco

Crown devon's chief designer and Design Manager, Enoch Boulton, is one of the unsung heros of populist Art Deco pottery ware in the United Kingdom.

Reputation of designers of antique or vintage pottery are very much in the hands of people who write about them now. In the pottery world, women designers from the Art Deco period appear to have attracted the most attention from contemporary writers. Books about such Art Deco luminaries as Clarice Cliff and Suzy Cooper have created large and enthusiastic markets, pushing prices into the stratosphere.

Never-the-less, there were many male and female designers of that period in the United Kingdom who made major contributions to both the industry and Art Deco design in general and little is heard about them. Carltonware's Violet Elmer barely gets a mention in the numerous books written about the output of Wiltshire and Robinson and books on Fieldings Crown Devon by Susan Hill and Ray Barker fail to laud the work and the sheer volume of output of one of Staffordshire's most prolific designers, Enoch Boulton.

I have been an avid fan of Boutlon's work since I began collecting several decades ago, and a sense of injustice at the failure of commentators and writers to acknowledge Boulton's contribution has driven me to do something about it.

Many of the essays available on this blog review an astonishing body of work of this quiet and reserved man of great talent.

Click here for his story

Join the Crown Devon Family

If you wish to become a member of the growing Crown Devon collecting family there are some excellent resources available to assist you developing your collecting smarts.

Alan Roberts works tirelessly at managing the on-line Crown Devon Collectors Club, producing the quarterly, the Crown Devon Argus. Membership of the club is very reasonably priced. Click here to go to the club's website.

Susan Hill's 'Crown Devon' published by Jazz Publications provides an excellent survey of the Fielding company's output since the inception of the pottery.

Ray Barker has written two books on Crown Devon and they are an invaluable source of information about patterns and stories about the company and its products.

History of Fieldings Crown Devon

The history of Fieldings Crown Devon spans more than a hundred years from 1878 until 1982. During that period the company experienced two very distinct peaks in terms of design and output.

Click here for a short history of the Fieldings Crown Devon Company

Click here for a detailed chronology of the company

Crown Devon Butterflies and Dragons

The Butterfly patterns are one of the most appealing albeit simply executed designs in the Crown Devon catalogue.

Dragonflies have also been a feature of numberous patterns since the early days of lustrine.

Click here for a range of examples of butterfly and dragon patterns

Crown Devon Fairy Castle Pattern

The Crown Devon Fairy Castle pattern was released in early 1933. In the 1930s, a number of potteries produced fairy castle patterns and it is not known which company initiated the trend, although the Crown Devon versions may have been the first to reach market.

Fairy castle designs fetch good prices at auction, the mattajade version of the design perhaps commanding the highest prices.

Click here for a review of this popular pattern

Enoch Boulton's Amazing Lustreware designs

As an ardent collector of Boulton's Art Deco lustre ware designs, I never tire at looking and enjoying these beautiful pieces of work. Rich Reds, deep stippled blues and striking orange and green lustres with underglaze and enamelled colouring, finished off with rich gold, they are a beauty to behold.

Lustre ware are one of the most collectible and valuable of the Crown Devon inventory.

Click here to discover why

Crown Devon Fantazia

The origins of the Fantazia pattern are disputed. Did Enoch Boulton take it from Carltonware when he moved over to Fieldings Crown Devon in 1930?

There are marked differences in the designer signatures of the Crown Devon and Carltonware patterns, but to make the story even more interesting, the original design was not the result of either Boulton's or Carltonware's Violet Elmer's creative ideas.

For an essay on this stunning pattern click here

Crown Devon Flatbrush Floral Designs

British Arts and Crafts movement. Art Pottery, as it was called in the 19th Century, was itself a reaction against the industrialisation of the British ceramics industry, which had almost completely succumbed to mechanisation and mass production by the mid 1850s.

The Crown Devon factory produced hundred of different patterns painted by a battery of female decorators.

The freestyle nature of flatbrush designs meant that designer Enoch Boulton could test a variety of styles in the market and gear production towards the most popular of them.

Click here for an essay of some of the most collectible of these styles

Crown Devon Geometric Designs

Geometric designs are the quintessence of Art Deco design. While Clarice Cliff is perhaps best known for her bizarre ware geometrics, the Crown Devon factory produced some amazing examples of this populist Art Deco style.

Click here for some of Enoch Boulton's best examples

Mattajade - Boulton's Crowning Glory

Mattajade is one of Enoch Boulton’s crowning achievements at the Devon Pottery.
On its release in 1932 it represented Fieldings ‘best of the best’ in terms of quality,
design and finish.

It was populist art pottery at its best, and it fetches premium prices at today’s auctions.

Click here for a pictorial essay on this pattern

Crown Devon Royal George Design

The choice of Royal George as the name for this famous Crown Devon pattern was not
accidental. It was named after and eighteenth century 100 gun galleon of the same name that foundered at Spithead with a loss of around 1400 lives on the 29th August 1792.

Royal George was a featured pattern on early Lustrine and continued in various permutations until the 1960s

Click here for the Royal George story

Crown Devon Pagoda Pattern

One of the most popular and well-know Crown Devon patterns is the 'Pagoda' pattern.

This pattern was produced by Fieldings Crown Devon for over 50 years.

Click here for an indepth exploration of this pattern series

The Dragons

The British have had a particular love affair with Chinese Dragons since the 18th century. Of course Dragons and the Brits go back as far as Celtic mythology.

Click here for an essay on Crown Devon Dragon patterns