Bell Motif Impressed on Bowls and Plates - Signed William Bell

by Tom L
(Lantana, Florida)

William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China

William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China

William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China
William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China
William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China
William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China

Hi Peter

Here's a tricky one for you...

For the last couple of years I have been reselling dinnerware and such on eBay. While searching for inventory one day, I came across these plates and bowls at a thrift store in Boca Raton.

They are signed William Bell and have an impressed bell on the base. They have a blue geometric, retro, starburst design on white pottery. There are specks of blue on the face of the wares but none on the back, suggesting this was done as part of the design.

There is a swirl on pieces suggesting these were thrown on a wheel. I am becoming more interested in older stoneware but being in South Florida it is hard to find older pieces as you would up north.

I have found a few pottery and potter's art pieces that are hard to part with because they are so appealing. Most impressive, in my opinion, are the Italian pieces. My exposure to potters art is limited but would like to see more of it in my collection.

I have searched the web with numerous different queries in search engines and can't seem to find the mark on these pieces. It may be a small local shop somewhere, but I can't seem to find another mark like it.

I have checked with Bell Potters in Canada and Maine and am waiting for a reply from the Museum of Ceramics in Zaneszille, Ohio. Since I am a novice, I have no clue as to the age of these pieces.

Not sure if these are remnants, I doubt it, of Bell Brothers. I read an article stating they had found a few shards of stoneware while excavating the old factory site, as their main product was porcelain before closing.

Interested to get anyone else's ideas on this.

Thanks in advance


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William Bell Pottery/Ceramics/China
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Tom

Nice post, interesting obscure pottery, thanks. Hand painted, a bit shakily, and impressed mark. All indicative of a local guy either amateur or small scale rather than manufacturer.

I did a hunt around for this name William Bell. Both surname and first name are fairly common, so you would expect a bit of action within the ceramics world. I could only find two examples of the name William Bell in the history of china/ceramics manufacturing.

There is nothing to link your item with either men, so the mystery goes on, I'm afraid.

Any clues would be gratefully received, let's hunt this down like we have done so many times before.

The first William Bell I could find is US based.

The Bell Pottery Company, Findlay, Ohio (which you already found out about), also known as the Bell Brothers & Co.. Founded by
three East Liverpool men, William M. and Edward F. Bell and Henry W.Flentke . It began production in July 1889. The wares were marked BBColCHINA and later BPColF 0 or an impressed "Bell Pottery Co."

William Bell was president of the company and died in situ in 1902. The company produced beautiful hand-painted ware and high-quality in dinnerware and toiletware until 1904.

The second William Bell was English, from Hull, Yorkshire and is associated with a company called the Belle Vue Pottery which was founded in 1802, went into larger scale production in 1826 and lasted until 1841.

The Belle Vue Pottery was founded by a William Bell who named the works after a nearby street called Belle Vue Terrace. It was presumably a play on his name too.

Most of the pots were made from high quality white earthenware. Many had no pottery mark. But there have been several mark variations recorded - a single bell with the name BELLE VUE, a double bell with the same words, the bell motifs with no words, and sometimes just the name with no bell motifs.

Most of the Belle Vue wares had patterns which were both hand painted and transfer printed. Floral designs were often hand painted and other styles of pot had slip decoration applied by hand and others had brightly coloured glazes. Pieces were often hand modelled and press moulded with the end result that the decoration becomes part of the structure of the item, rather than applied afterwards.

If you have even the tiniest bit of information to add, and some photos of any of the three William Bells mentioned above, please comment below and send pics to me and I will add them to your comment

Don't forget to mention which thread they are for in your email as I may well forget. Thanks.

Peter (admin)

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