Hampshire Pottery History
The makers of Hampshire art pottery were located in Keene, NH. The history of Hampshire pottery dates back to 1871 when James Scollay Taft purchased an old clothespin factory and started making pottery there. James Burnap, Taft’s uncle, quickly joined the operation. An English potter named Thomas Stanley joined the firm in 1879. Stanley was responsible for creating a successful line of redware and stoneware, both of which were of course very popular during that time period. The success of their majolica-type line enabled them to build a new kiln in 1883 and they began to focus on new glazes. They worked with yellow, brown, blue, and green glazes. Arts and crafts pottery is most closely associated with the Grueby green glaze. Hampshire pottery starting using that green glaze a full four years before Grueby used the same color in 1887. So while Hampshire is rightfully considered a very low-end mass produced version of Grueby, Hampshire did do some original glazes. The “golden age” of Hampshire pottery ended in 1914 when their lead chemist died. James Taft sold Hampshire pottery to George Morton. WWI and the increasing costs to run the factory ultimately caused Morton to close the plant for good in 1923. At its peak, Hampshire pottery had dozens of employees and was making hundreds of items on a daily basis.
Hampshire Pottery Marks
Here is a quick list of the different marking conventions used by Hampshire. Most are just a variation of Taft, Keene, and Hampshire:
-Hampshire Keene N.H.
-J.S.T. & Co. Keene N.H.
-James S. Taft & Co. Keene N.H.
-Hampshire Pottery, Keene N.H.
Hampshire Pottery Price Guide
Hampshire pottery really doesn’t bring the prices of other New England arts and crafts pottery makers. A lot of this is just because all Hampshire vases, bowls, etc are mold made. They really weren’t touched by an artisan. The glazes are also less than special, despite having formulas for over 900 different glazes. So long story short, most Hampshire pottery is worth less than $500. Very rarely something will sell for more than $1,000. The two vases we have pictured below are representative of the small percentage of good Hampshire pottery. You can click on each picture for more pricing details.