Edward Thomas Radford


Pilkington Royal Lancastrian Hand-Thrown Vase by Edward Thomas Radford with Dripping Caramel and Orange Glazes (LEO Design)


British ceramicist Edward Thomas Radford (born 1860) was a master of wheel-thrown pottery.  He began his career at Wedgwood, followed by stints at Linthorpe, Burmantofts, Doulton, then back to Wedgwood.  He was recruited to a new pottery company, Pilkington, in 1903 (it began making pottery in 1904) and he stayed here for the rest of his career. Radford retired in 1936 and Pilkington discontinued art pottery in 1938 (though its ceramic tile manufacturing continued). 

Radford was a star at Pilkington.  He could throw monstrously-sized pots or the tiniest of pieces (only 1.5 inches tall).  And he could throw a pot and then fashion a perfectly-fitting lid by eye (and hand) alone.

Although many of the pieces at Pilkington were cast, a significant number were hand-thrown by Radford.  He inscribed his work with the initials E.T.R.  He also designed many of the shapes which he would hand-produce (though, like any hand-produced work, each piece was slightly different).  These pieces would then be glazed with a standard Pilkington color or decorated with another artist's painted design.

Radford, a founding artist with the company, helped set the highest standard of excellence, which won the company a Royal Warrant of Appointment by King George V in 1913. 

A "Royal Warrant" is granted by the monarch (or, sometimes, the monarch's parent or spouse) to acknowledge publicly a deserving company, manufacturer or service.  The warrant indicates that this business regularly supplies goods or services purchased by the Royal Household and it allows that company to use the royal coat-of-arms on its products, packaging and promotional materials (accompanied by strict rules of use).  It also allows the company to add "Royal" to its name—in this case, Pilkington Royal Lancastrian.

Radford had a son, Edward Thomas Brown Radford, who was a ceramicist himself.  He worked at Pilkington, with his father, from 1905 until he was called-up for World War One. When Edward Jr. returned from war, he continued his career in ceramics, initially selling the wares of other companies, then starting his own firm, Radford Handcraft Pottery.

The handsome vase, shown above, was hand-thrown by Edward Thomas Radford.  One can still see and feel his fingermarks on the sides of the vase.  The piece was then glazed with a mottled orange and yellow Vermillion glaze, topped with an organic, dripping caramel top coat.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece.



Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248