Joseph Holdcroft

The Sutherland Pottery was established at Daisy Bank, Longton in 1870. Joseph Holdcroft had previously been employed at Minton for eighteen years where he became most proficient in the production of majolica, although the firm also produced Parian and other household earthenwares which were marketed in the Americas and Australia. After 1906, the firm became Holdcroft Ltd. and operated through the 1920s.

Despite a large and high-quality production of majolica, little documentation remains of the designers and modelers employed by Holdcroft. To be sure, he took inspiration from both the rustic style of George Jones as well as the classical designs of Minton and Wedgwood. Although Holdcroft majolica designs and modeling were somewhat more elementary, the glazing was usually well executed.

Many pieces known to be by Holdcroft are decorated with naturalistic emerald green pond lilies. The theme appears on a variety of plates, bowls, sardine boxes and cheese bells. Frequently seen are a series of graduated pitchers and plates bearing a rustic dogwood branch and blossoms. Stork and heron vases and stick stands were produced in the manner of Minton although not as artistically rendered. Platters and plates depicting salmon and other fish were likely inspired by Wedgwood’s marine motifs.

Holdcroft majolica can sometimes be identified by the celadon green coloring on the undersurface although mottled gray-brown and green-brown patterns are also seen. When marked, Holdcroft pieces bear an impressed ‘J HOLDCROFT’ or an overlapping ‘JH’ contained within a circle.