Monday, April 06, 2009

West German Pottery vs Kilrush

Well, the plot thickens! On flicking through the April 2009 edition of the BBC Homes & Antiques Magazine I found a most intriguing development to the WGP vs Kilrush question. In their readers letters section, a Mr Gordon Morley had sent in a query about a vase in his collection, numbered on the base 105/24. The expert, Will Farmer, told him in reply that it was by E. S. Keramik, a Post War German piece, and valued around £30-40. If i hadn't only just posted a blog entry about a very similar pot, i wouldn't have paid much attention. But the vase from the magazine is clearly by the same designer and company as the Kilrush jug i mentioned only the other day. Now, how do i know that the jug was by Kilrush and not E.S.Keramik? Well, it was sold on Ebay recently and the seller said that it had a stamp underneath that said it was by Kilrush. So, Mr Farmer, we have an impass it seems. Unless, one or other of these factories imported each other's work and sold it as their own? Does anyone have any more light to shed on this mystery?


Archimandrill said...

I don`t know how much you know about the Kilrush Pottery`s German connections (to be honest, I`d never even heard of the place before ) but a quick google came up with a transcription of the Dail debate on it`s closure in 1983, when one of the deputies gave this summary : "In 1961 a group of very enthusiastic Clare businessmen, with a group of German businessmen, set up a pottery plant in Kilrush. That was extremely successful. There was great hope at the time in the south west Clare area because at that stage the Kilrush pottery factory was seen as something that would replace the emigrant boat to England and America. It operated very successfully and in 1976 it was taken over by Rosenthal. Between 1979 and 1981 the number of workers was reduced from 110 to 60. Problems arose in the factory. At the time a study was done and it was found out that part of the reason for the failure then was that the plant was not re-equipped with modern machinery, that there was an inability on the part of the plant to manufacture the type of product that was being produced previously in the traditional style and indeed there were very serious promotional and marketing defects. There was also a lack of commitment and management from the German plant and that affected the work force in Kilrush. "

bisto boy said...

well, what i know about kilrush pottery i can count on one hand, no, a few fingers. Thanks so much for the info about german connection. It's a fascinating development and points at a much clearer understanding as to why the Kilrush pottery's output was so similar to that coming out of W.German potteries of a similar date.

I imagine there will still be people alive who worked at Kilrush in the 60s and who may have further info about the relationship with WGP factories and perhaps even who these German businessmen were.

Aside from the mystery, I have found with further image searching, a few more Kilrush pieces and am finding myself drawn more and more to them stylistically. I can see this may become a sideline interest for me.

Earn Cash Money Uk said...

Hi There, yes I used to work in the kilrush pottery factory in the very early 1970's and I am still about, I dont Remember very much about the german people except they seemed to be good to work for I do remember that they arranged an outing for us it was a trip to conermara to climb over a mountain range called the 12 pins one lad fell down the side of the mountain and smashed his leg up I might be able to put you in touch with a relation of mine that was a forman there if thats any help

bisto boy said...

hi there,

thank you so much for getting in touch. It's really great to hear from someone who actually worked for the Kilrush ceramics factory.

yes indeed, i would love to be intouch with your relation who was the foreman - if only to see if they can clarify who the German folk were and what factory they were from in Germany. The info about who it was that had the link with Kilrush is very sketchy.

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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.