Hi Everybody,

I’m sure you have noticed when watching the Antiques Roadshow that one of the first things the presenters do, when looking at pottery, is to turn the item upside down to see if there are any pottery marks. I thought it would be interesting to delve a little further into the history of these marks. The pottery mark concept is an ancient idea and even pots mass produced by the Romans bear seals or marks.

However, it was not until the Meissen pottery factory in Saxony, Germany, which was also a royal factory, started using the letters K.P.M. which stand for Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur (Royal Porcelain Manufactory), as well as their crossed swords mark, that the practice started becoming widespread. The KPM mark was only used for a brief period, nowadays, Meissen porcellan just shows the crossed swords. The marks were introduced to guards against forgeries.

Any pottery marked ENGLAND,GERMANY or JAPAN are most likely to have been produced after 1891. After the Second World War ‘studio pottery’ became popular and individual potters started making their own work.

The design of marks can be complex forms, lines of text or a simple graphic shape.

As a potter or student potter yourself you can make your own pottery mark or stamps. You can even pay to have these made for you today by going onto site like Etsy or Stampit to add a professional touch to your work. As these stamps are pressed into the unfired clay, it makes them practically impossible to remove and leaves people in no doubt about the creator.

Until next time, happy potting,