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Fired for Royalty Exhibition – Right royal celebration of potter at Newton Abbot Museum

NEWTON Abbot Museum is set to host a collection of historic pottery souvenirs created locally for key royal events of the past.

The Fired for Royalty exhibition is being staged by the Torquay Pottery Collectors Society with doors due to open on Saturday June 10 and the items on display until July 6 as a celebration of the recent coronation of King Charles III.

The Exhibition showcases more than 100 commemorative pieces produced for events including Queen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, the Coronation and Silver Jubilee of King George V, the Coronation of King George VI and the Coronation and Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Also commemorated in pottery is the abdication of King Edward VIII who gave up the throne in 1936 so he could marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Project Curator Andy Violet said: ‘The establishment of the first pottery, the Watcombe Terracotta Company in 1869, in the Torquay area, spawned a number of potteries in the immediate locality and the south Devon area. ‘These potteries, using clay that equalled and even surpassed the Italian clays, produced a number of royal commemoratives for the prominent royal events of the late nineteenth century.

‘The royal commemorative souvenirs produced in south Devon differ from those produced by the Staffordshire potteries in that they were not factory produced with transfer decoration, but were hand thrown on a potter’s wheel and hand decorated in earthy coloured slips with roses, thistles and shamrocks with sgraffitoed inscriptions, and incorporated a crown and the heads of the monarchs.

‘They have more artistic merit than those decorated with simple transfer designs produced by the Staffordshire potteries.’

Museum Curator India Jolly said: ‘It’s wonderful to have this collection of Devon commemoratives on display so close to where they were produced.

‘We’re very grateful to the Torquay Pottery Collectors Society for arranging the exhibition which I’m sure will prove to be very popular given the interest in the recent coronation.’

Entry to the museum is free, visit for details.

The above image shows Andy Violet with a piece of the commemorative pottery.

For more information email [email protected] or call 01626 201121.