Saturday, April 05, 2008

Partnership Histories

Bishop and Stonier Partnerships

Key dates

1851 - 1866 Livesley Powell & Co. Old Hall Lane and Miles Bank, Hanley.

1867 - 1878 Powell & Bishop. Parliament Row and Stafford Street Works, Hanley.

1878 - 1891 Powell, Bishop & Stonier. Stafford Street Works, Hanley.

1891 - 1933 Bishop & Stonier. Various addresses, Hanley.

1933 - 1939 George Jones & Sons bought the company and continued use of the Bisto trade mark.

Livesley Powell & Co. was formed in 1845 by William Livesley, Edwin Powell and Frederick Bishop. The Livesley family were potters in Hanley; Edwin Powell was a potter who had been apprenticed at Dimmocks of Hanley; and Frederick Bishop was a lawyer providing financial support to the venture.

In 1866 William Livesley retired and the partnership became known as Powell and Bishop. In 1878 Powell and Bishop were joined by John Stonier who was a china and glass merchant in Liverpool, employing around 400 people. One of his company's specialities was fitting out liners of the day, such as Brunel's Great Britain and the ill-fated Titanic.

Livesley Powell produced a variety of bodies including china, parian, and ironstone china and used transfer printing (sometimes in lilac), moulded, painted and lustre decoration. They patented a process of printing in gold and colours which produced a dead gold background. Much of their production was exported, with over one million different items sent to New York alone in 1851. They are reported to have exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Marks on their wares incorporate the name of the firm or the initials L.P. & Co.

In 1876, Powell and Bishop exhibited at the Philadelphia Exhibition.

In 1880, Powell, Bishop and Stonier registered a new trademark to accompany their ivory or cream coloured earthenware. This shows a seated Chinaman under a sunshade or umbrella containing the words ORIENTAL IVORY - their name for the earthenware body. This oriental ivory body and their green bodied porcelain were ideal vehicles for Japanese inspired designs which were popular in the Victorian period. These often featured asymmetrical floral and bird designs.

In 1891 Duncan Watson Bishop and John Stonier created a new company trade mark BISTO, using the first letters of their surnames. This name was incorporated into the backstamp of the period - the Wand of Caduceus. In 1906 they were using an advertising slogan in the trade press ' The sun never sets on Bisto wares'.

In the 1920s a new range of designs using bright and lustrous colours was produced, known as 'Aztec Ware' . Children's nursery ware was also produced featuring nursery rhymes and stories. Other wares of the 20th century period included bathroom sets, vases and sardine dishes. In 1933, the company was taken over by George Jones & Sons. They continued to use the wand mark and also the mark of a bishop until 1939.


Adam said...


I am trying to identify a pattern that I have, and is the third one down on this post (birds with a tree and alternating floral and pink border). We don't know the company, but the pattern number is 1474. We've been trying to identify when it's from (our best guess is mid-1800s), and the company. Do you know anything more about the plate? Thanks so much!

bisto boy said...

hi Adam,

wasn't quite sure which piece you were referring to as the third picture is a louis Rhead designed jug with a pre-raphaelite lady. did you mean one of the jugs in the pic above it? do send me a picture and i'll see if i can help.

Anonymous said...

I have a piece that is pure white with no coloring other than the cobalt blue hallmark staped to the bottom with the wording "Ironstone China" within something akin to a shield beneath a crown and the names "Powell & Bishop" within a banner immediately beneath and attached to the shield, plus the word "England" below all.

All lettering is capped.

There are two matching designs at each end that look much like Le Fleurs with the exception that the tips have been squared off rather than pointed.

Not sure if the above helps but I would like to identify and attept to date the piece.

It may be a serving spoon holder measuring about 12-inches in length and 6-inches in width.

The piece is bowed (which leads me think it is a spoon rest.)

Is it possible to send you photos and, if it is not, could you point me to where I might identify and date the piece?

Thanks much,

Mike Cooper, Seattle, Washington.

About Me

My photo
Sometimes, life doesn't turn out the way you expected. And sometimes, it is exactly as it was 'meant' to be. But whilst i'm not a believer in fate or fatalism, I do believe that life is a both a learning experience and an obstacle course to be climbed and clambered over in the most creative way possible! In doing so, you'll get to where you should be even if it's not where you'd imagined.