Find out how to identify potters markings

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Locate and examine the mark. Examine the mark carefully. Use a magnifying glass to see the details. A mark is usually an ink stamp or an impression in the porcelain. However, some companies use a symbol rather than a signature. You may find the artist's initials, symbol or signature. Compare the mark to Internet guides. The guides also show if a maker had different markings during its history of manufacturing. Match your mark to what you find in a guide. Chinese porcelain marks usually record the dynasty and the name of the emperor; but they are unreliable because the Chinese often used the mark of an earlier dynasty as a sign of veneration for the products of antiquity and, in recent times, for commercial gain.

Most European pottery factories adopted an identifying device, the earliest example of which is the mark of a cathedral and an F on some Florentine wares of about —87; but these devices also cannot be regarded as a guarantee of authenticity. Not only were false marks added to contemporary forgeries but the smaller 18th-century factories often copied the proprietary marks of their more august competitors.

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Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. Potter's mark. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Early Peters and Reed pottery was red clay, too, as were many of the Arts and Crafts pots like Grueby. Some Italian and Mexican pottery is made with red clay, and much of the southwest or Native American pottery uses shades of red. Harris G.

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Strong used red clay sometimes, too, and Nicodemus is a red clay pottery. Jugtown is often red clay, and there are some North Carolina potters who used red clay. See this red clay dish by Harris G. Strong left. Georgia, Alabama, and North and South Carolina have available veins of red clay that are suitable for pottery, so consider makers in those geographical areas if you have a red clay pot to identify.

Of course there are lots more, but if you have a piece of pottery with a red clay base, this is a start. There are many different shades of "red" clay, but red and deep pink clays have been readily available to the potter for centuries, and this color often gives the glaze a different look than it would have with another color clay.

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Yellow clay was primarily from Ohio, so most of the Ohio potteries used yellow clay. Roseville , McCoy and Brush are examples of the yellow clay potters.

For an example, see the yellow clay bowl produced by McCoy right. Robinson-Ransbottom was mostly yellow clay.

Watt Pottery is in a class I call yellowware, since they used a clear glaze over the yellow clay instead of colors. Robinson-Ransbottom, Blue Ridge , Purinton , Watt all made some yellowware with a clear glaze over the yellow clay. Take a look at the Watt Pottery yellowware bowl left.

Chat on Reference Books / Marks Identification Dating Pottery & Porcelain

Weller sometimes used yellow to cream colored clay, but just when you think you have learned how to identify these pots by clay color, an anomaly shows up. Look at this Weller piece in red clay! Hull and Shawnee are a cream color with a pink tint to the clay. So are American Bisque and Royal Copley. Don't confuse this with pink clay—used by Coventry and Kay Finch and a few other California potters, including some Hagen-Renaker. See how the pink clay Dutch boy left has a pink clay color so his face, base and backpack don't require additional paint? Camark and some Arkansas potteries as well as Texas potters used a white to ecru clay, primarily.

See the dry foot on the Camark console bowl right. Niloak is often white clay, and much of the Niloak was heavier with a wider foot left or base than many other American potteries of that era. Alamo and Gilmer are Texas potteries using white clay. See the white clay base right. A quick aside about Alamo and Gilmer: Alamo and Gilmer potteries were related companies and used many of the same designs — some originally from famous Texas potter Harding Black.

Stangl Pottery is often made of a white clay, too.


Some Hawaii pieces are also white clay, like this Hawaiian pitcher on the left. Beige clay was used by Rosemeade and some eras of Dryden , primarily Kansas Dryden. This green Dryden pitcher right shows the beige clay clearly. Monmouth which later became Western Stoneware used a sandy clay, often seen with a maple leaf and USA incised into the clay. If you examine a pot like the sandy jug left , you can quickly recognize the clay and maple leaf. Some of the southwest Native American pottery is beige clay, too. This pitcher right is marked Acoma on the side.

How to Identify a Porcelain Mark

Mosaic Tile made pieces that were not tiles, and they often have a beige clay. See the odd boomerang ashtray left by Mosiac Tile. Heath used a sandy clay for much of its dinnerware lines. Dryden and Rosemeade may be sandy clay, too. This Heath bowl is clearly marked, but notice the clay color on the unglazed ring. Any pottery that has been soaked in water may be beige, too, so beware of dirty bottoms! The Foot The shape, glazing and markings of the "foot" or base surface of the piece which makes contact with a supporting surface ie — table or shelf can be as revealing as the color and texture of the clay.

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Many pieces of pottery have a dry rim around the bottom edge, known as a dry foot. This green Camark ashtray right has a white unpainted rim. Others have a completely dry or unglazed bottom, and still others have wedge shapes on the bottom. Royal Copley frequently used bars across the bottom. Note the bars across this Royal Copley planter left from the manufacturing process. American Bisque used the wedge shapes routinely, so that is always my first guess on a piece with a dry wedge foot. Here's a good example of the American Bisque wedge foot right.

Pottery Marks Identification Made Easy

Companies using a dry foot include most of the Ohio companies and some Stangl of New Jersey. Several companies used stilts for glazing pottery, and the bottom will be glazed over completely with three small marks for the stilts.


To scan by shape, look at your mark and determine the most likely shape category listed below such as crowns, shields, birds, etc. Or if your mark is a word or. and answers. I try my best to answer the pottery marks identification queries myself - that's if I know the answer - or can look up the mark in reference books.

Haeger and Royal Haeger are often glazed like this. Stilt marks left may look like damage at first, but are a good distinguishing feature.