BLACKWELL opens its new season with a centenary celebration that should have all who love bold and beautiful pottery beating a path to the Bowness Arts and Crafts house.

Moorcroft: 100 Years of a Living Art Pottery completes its countrywide tour at Blackwell - a house built little more than a decade before William Moorcroft first set up his own factory in Stoke-on-Trent, and whose exquisite handcrafted decoration was, like that of Moorcroft, inspired by the observation and stylisation of plants and natural forms.

The exhibition includes 100 pieces of art pottery and rare historical archive material which has never left the factory before being included in this exhibition.

The incredible skill of the master craftsmen working at the turn of the last century is evident not only in the brilliantly-carved flora and fauna that adorn Blackwell’s interiors, but also in the vibrant, flowing forms of the fruit, flowers and foliage that shimmer from the surface of Moorcroft pottery.

Together, Blackwell and Moorcroft constitute Arts and Crafts-inspired workmanship at its creative best, and the exhibition presents a wonderful opportunity for visitors to experience how well Moorcroft’s luminous pottery and Blackwell’s finely-carved interiors sit beautifully side by side.

The exhibition comes to a dramatic close with an exciting three-day event at Blackwell for Moorcroft collectors on July 18/19/20, a fine finale before the display returns to the Moorcroft Museum. Antique expert and Moorcroft director, Eric Knowles, will also be on hand to talk to visitors about Moorcroft today and through the decades.

William Moorcroft’s pottery legacy has lived on for a century, with one, complete, unbroken line of production in Stoke-on-Trent and the exact same techniques, attitude and style originally employed. The firm has held its own against the increasing dominance of mechanisation brought about by the Industrial Revolution and as well as the travelling exhibition also launched two Legacy Collections inspired by the stories and artwork of those early days on Burslem’s Sandbach Road.

One vase exclusive to the centennial exhibition and a mascot to the celebrations is by senior designer, Rachel Bisho. Her Meo Voto visually offers the delights of rich metallic oxide colours and big, red poppies defined in delicate linework of clay, typical of Moorcroft, but spiritually, it is a beacon of artistic freedom and a tribute to William Moorcroft’s dreams of Arts and Crafts design.

Blackwell is open 10.30am-5pm (4pm November-February).

For further information telephone 015394-46139.