Pilkington’s Tile & Pottery Company

History of the Pilkington’s Collection

The Peter Scott Gallery houses one of the most significant collections of Pilkington’s Tile & Pottery Company material in the UK. Pilkington’s were based at Clifton Junction near Manchester and were given permission to use the Royal warrant in 1913 when the pottery was renamed Royal Lancastrian. A permanent display of this material is available in the John Chambers Ceramics Room, on the upper level of the Peter Scott Gallery.

A large number of objects were given to Lancaster University in 1994 by Miss Mary Chambers (1910-2002), on behalf of herself and her brother Arthur Chambers. In August 2002 the gallery received a substantial bequest of additional material from Miss Chambers.

Miss Chambers was the daughter of John Chambers (1869-1945), who was the Chief Designer at Pilkington’s Tile & Pottery Company during what is generally considered to be its golden era. Among the thousands of items in the bequest were delicate illustrations and designs, photographs, rare books and catalogues, diaries, paperwork, stencils for tiles, artists’ materials and ceramics.

John Chambers Ceramics Room

On display in the John Chambers Ceramics Room is a selection of significant pieces from our collection of Pilkington’s Tiles & Pottery Company material. This includes a chronological display of ceramic works starting with a vase created in 1898, objects finished with Pilkington’s lustre glaze that helped make the company an international success in the early 20th century and ending with a selection of ceramics created in the 1930s.

The collection also provides a unique insight in to the company and represents the range of artists who contributed to Pilkington’s success through preliminary ideas and tests as well as finished works. The centre case in the gallery changes regularly to highlight different aspects of the collection.