You are here: AW Antiques & Collectibles Collecting Sylvac Pottery

AW Antiques & Collectibles

Finding & Reviving Old Furniture
Antique Restoration
Antique Information
General Info

Collecting Sylvac Pottery

A pair of SYLVAC rabbit bookends>


1894 William Shaw founded the Sheaf Pottery, Normacot Road, Longton
1896 William Shaw moved to Commerce Street, Longton
1902 Mr Copestake became a partner
1902 Moved to the Drury Works, Normacot Road
1903 Mr Copestake's share bought by Richard Hull, Senior
1904 Works renamed Sylvan Works, Normacot Road
1936 Shaw and Copestake became a limited company
1938 Richard Hull Jnr. and E.J. Dennis acquired Thomas Lawrence (Limited) Falcon Ware ** (Falcon Works, Waterloo Street, Longton estd. 1898)
1942 William Shaw retired
1957 New factory opened in Normacot Road
1962 Thomas Lawrence ceased trading under own name
1964 Use of the Falcon Ware name ceased
1982 Shaw and Copestake in voluntary liquidation. Plant and equipment (including moulds and name) purchased by North Midlands Co-operative Society and leased to a co-operative called Longton Ceramics
1984 Longton Ceramics taken over by United Co-operative Society and became Crown Winsor
1989 Crown Winsor closed

SYLVAC gnome posy bowl

** The Falcon Ware of Thomas Lawrence (Longton) Ltd. should not be confused with the products of J.H. Weatherby & Sons Ltd., Falcon Pottery, Hanley.

In 1894, Mr. Shaw called his company the Sheaf Art Pottery, but the wares produced were not produced by hand as in many art pottery studios - rather they were mass produced in moulds and then hand decorated. Early products included decorated vases, jugs, flower pots, cheese stands, toilet wares and fancy earthenware´s. They were very ornate and heavily decorated with gold and a lot of hand painting.
Over the years many different decorative techniques were used and so a wide range of fancy goods can be found today. In the early 1800s aerography was used with hand painting, followed by lithographic transfers with hand embellishments. Lustre wares were produced and, from the late 1920s (until the 1950s), a cellulose finish, in imitation of Wedgwood jasper ware. In the 1930s a matt glaze was created and applied to a huge range of animal figures, vases and other decorative items. Production of some of these continued until 1982 and these matt wares are perhaps the best known of the SylvaC range.

In the 1950s and 1960s new lines continued to be produced including plaques and floral brooches. Advertising pieces and commemorative wares were also made.

The products in the Thomas Lawrence Falcon Ware range were very similar to the Shaw and Copestake wares - fancies, novelties and toilet ware. During the war The Shaw and Copestake factory was requisitioned by the government and used for storage. It re-opened in 1945. Part of the Falcon Pottery was made available to Shaw and Copestake during this period and so the two arms of the company worked closer together during this period. During the war they maintained a strong export market and the Falcon Pottery also manufactured utility wares for the home market.

By 1957 Thomas Lawrence had moved out of the Falcon Works and joined Shaw and Copestake at the Sylvan Works - both were by then producing the same items.

(Above text reproduced with the kind permission of Stoke-on-Trent City Council whose copyright this remains).

Sylvac has always been associated with model animals, especially Dogs and Rabbits. The rabbits first appeared in the 1930s, an idea which came from France. The rabbits were produced for over 40 years until 1975, in various glazes and colours. The most common, being green. The matt glaze was replaced in 1970 by a gloss finish.

Nearly every breed of dog was modelled in one style or another. This amounted to well over a hundred different figures. The Terrier dogs, were the most popular. These continued to be made throughout most of the business years.

Other than animals, Sylvac produced Table wares, Toby jugs, Figures, Gnomes etc.

Sylvac pieces can still be found by the collector, in charity shops and fairs still at reasonably low prices.

Collectors beware, reproductions of some SylvaC originals are now in circulation and unfortunately some carry the old SylvaC backstamps. Although quite a number of books on the market about Sylvac pottery to help you.