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

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)

Bell info NEW
by: Max and Denise Fajardo

William and Vicky Bell were local pottery makers in the west coast of Florida. Our family has a collection of thier works. They are very nice people and unfortunately we have not heard from them in years. Cooncidently, this morning one of thier plates broke. We use their plates as daily wear. They moved to England as his dad was ill last time we spoke. If you find out where they are please advise us. We have been trying to connect with them for years. Thank you.

Bell pottery
by: DenuseAnonymous

William and Vicky were true hippies. The sweetest and kindest of people. I had purchased one of their trademark owl coffe cups and I droppped and broke it,. So I contacted them to replace the mug. The sent it to me and said it was a gift. Who does that? We began collecting this pottery more than 40 years ago. William & Vicky lived in South Florida and did the arts festivals circuit every year. They stopped as Williams dad got sick and I believe they returned to the U.K. Me and my family had collected several pieces from egg holders to serving and place settings and use it daily!

Bell Pottery NEW
by: Matt and Stephanie


I just found a turtle bowl in my uncle's kitchen. It also was signed by William Bell with the insignia. After researching the internet, luckily I came across your comments on this post. The bowl was dated 1978 so I assume this was when they had purchased it. They had taken many trips to Key West so maybe they had purchased it there. Anyway, we will gladly keep enjoying it and maybe get more use out of it since it's been displayed but not used for decades. Hopefully they and their family are doing well and it's fun to rekindle their memories through the art of pottery making. Any one else with more information would gladly be appreciated.

Bell pottery NEW
by: Anonymous

I too remember the Bells at the Coconut Grove art fair in the 1970's. My family bought many of their pieces and I still have a wonderful colander and some chowder bowls, all with the Bell marks on the bottom and blue glaze design. Over the years I have tried to find them to buy more pieces. Learning that they moved back to England solves the mystery for me.

Found one today in Lake Placid FL NEW
by: Gayle

Just curious who Wm Bell might be when I found this page. I don't know the date of this thread but found the info I wanted today 2 days before Christmas 2022.
Bought a 9.5" stoneware off wht with blue painted rim & primitive bird like figure in the center. Some pieces appeal to me. It has the bell stamp & his name on the back.

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