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Rockingham and other local potteries

The Rockingham Collection

All of our ceramic collection is the Swinton, Brameld and Rockingham pottery, collectively referred to as the Rockingham collection. Rotherham holds the best public collection of Rockingham pottery anywhere in the world. Since the first item was given to the Museum in 1908, many more items have been acquired by gift, purchase and bequest. The collection demonstrates an excellent range of wares including a full dinner service, and examples of tea and dessert wares, many of which match designs in the Rockingham Pattern Book. The Pattern Book is the second of four volumes produced to illustrate the designs used in the production of porcelain at the Swinton pottery site. It was acquired by Heritage Services in 2007, with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The original is held by Archives and Local Studies, and there is a facsimile copy for customers to view in the ceramics gallery.

Our collection extends beyond practical wares to include decorative goods such as potpourris, vases and figures. The collection has examples of early Swinton-Brameld products, for instance, the Documentary Teapot from 1773. It also encompasses early porcelain items, such as the earliest known Rockingham teacup dating from 1826, produced when the factory was still experimenting with porcelain manufacture. The collection also has examples of items from the Royal Dessert Service of William IV, including one unfinished plate and another from the Duchess of Cumberland’s Dessert Service.

Rockingham pottery

The Rhinoceros Vase

The largest and most important item within the Rockingham collection is the Rhinoceros Vase.

This vase, which was produced in 1826, was at the time of its production the largest piece of porcelain to have been fired in one piece anywhere in the world.

The vase, which stands at 1.15m high, was made as a demonstration piece for display at the factory showroom. It is richly decorated with delicately painted scenes from Don Quixote, painted by John Wager Brameld and is on display in the Museum.

Rhinoceros vase

Yorkshire potteries

The Yorkshire potteries collection consists of around 300 items of ceramics produced by the non-Rockingham potteries in Yorkshire. These items were manufactured at other Rotherham based potteries, such as Holmes Pottery, Rawmarsh Top Pottery and Kilnhurst Old Pottery, as well as at potteries further afield in Yorkshire, for example Leeds Pottery and Don Pottery, both of which have Rockingham connections.

Twigg jug

General ceramics

The general ceramics collection includes pieces used locally and those used as reference samples for non-local factories to demonstrate the similarity to Rockingham or other Yorkshire potteries.

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