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A Guide to William Adams Pottery Markings

Debbie Porter

In February 2021 in our Silverdale saleroom, we hosted a two-day auction of 20th century British pottery, which included this delightful Adams dip-blue jasperware biscuit barrel.

We have been selling Adams pottery, with varying degrees of rarity, for over twenty years here at Potteries Auctions. If you are looking to expand your collection or sell your exquisite pieces and would like to understand the value, we can help.

Our experts will identify and provide valuations for your pottery and make sure selling your Adams pieces is as easy as possible. Read on to find out more!

The History of William Adams the Potter

William Adams is most famously known for the creation of stunning jasperware. Adams was born in 1746, making him one of the earlier potters to create from Stoke-on-Trent, the home of The Potteries. William Adams came from a long lineage of potters, spanning many generations.

Adams founded the Greengates Pottery in 1779 and stamped all pottery with the name Adams & Co.. After Adams death in 1805, his son Benjamin took over the business and oversaw the day-to-day running, until the close of the business in 1820. Although the business closed under the Adams name, it was sold and passed to various potteries until it was absorbed by the Wedgewood Group in 1966. The Adams name and stunning pottery can continue.

The renowned blue and white Adams jasperware is easy to spot. It would look stunning on any mantlepiece. This recent collection of 19th century Adams jasperware items including a jar, cover and two vases, sold for £28.

How to Identify William Adams Pottery

The Adams name is well known for pottery, there were various ‘Adams’ who worked in the potteries and created ceramics. For William Adams the potter however, you might find stamps and markings with mixed variations of names. Earlier titles include:

  • W.Adams
  • W. Adams and Co.
  • W. Adams and Son.
  • W. Adams & Co.
  • B.Adams (dated from 1805, when William Adams’ son took over).

Photo Credit: GaukArtifact

It’s worth keeping an eye out for these variations of the Adams brand, and noting that some ‘Adams’ branded pottery could have been created by an earlier generation of Adams.

William Adams Backstamps

Knowing what backstamps to look out for can be difficult, especially as there are so many variations of the William Adams markings. Unlike lots of other potters of the time, Adams markings change shape and style with quite significant changes. The images below highlight some of these changes. It’s interesting to see how the brand has changed over the years.

Take a note of the backstamps below and check your pottery markings against them.

Photo Credit: GaukArtifact

As you can see, there is a varied mix of date markings and backstamp markings used to identify Adams pieces. Do you have some Adams pottery sat at home collecting dust? Perhaps it’s time to sell at auction?

This beautiful Adams dark blue and white jasperware planter (with a 19cm diameter) came up in a recent lot, along with a similar unmarked jug. You’ll find lots of Adams ‘copycat’ pieces so it’s important to check with experts to confirm the authenticity of your Adams piece. 

How Much are My William Adams Ceramics Worth?

It can be very difficult to accurately identify Adams pottery as there were so many different Adams potters in the Stoke-on-Trent area in the 19th century. That’s why it can be beneficial to gain expert advice from valuers. Here at Potteries Auctions, we have years of experience in identifying and valuing pottery and ceramics. We can help you uncover if your piece is authentic and ascertain how much it might be worth.

How Can I Auction My Adams Pottery?

Potteries Auctions canidentify and provide valuations on a wide range of Adams pieces. Please get in touch with usto discuss how we can help you or request a call back if you are looking for an expert evaluation and are seeking to sell your Adams pottery.

Did you know we can collect your pottery from anywhere in the UK? We also offer solutions for shipping too. We can pack and safely post your goods, perfect for transporting pieces that have been bought via our online auctions.