William S. Mycock had a very long and productive career with Pilkington’s. He began in 1894 hand-decorating tiles. He transferred to the art pottery division in 1906 and remained there—designing and hand-decorating ceramics—until his retirement in 1938, the same year the art pottery division was shuttered.
Prior to working at Pilkington’s, Mycock had studied painting in night classes. By day, he worked decorating pottery at Wedgwood and other area potteries. By the time he joined Pilkington, he had a very broad knowledge of decorating styles and techniques.
Mycock would sketch his designs roughly, on paper, laying-out the design as they would be arranged on the finished piece. When the composition had been finalized, he would transfer the design to tissue paper patterns (many of which still exist) and pierce holes along the pattern, thus transferring the design to the three-dimensional ceramic model. Not only were his pieces painted, but many of them had “incised” decoration on them as well.
Originally, all of the pieces were hand-thrown (and usually signed by that craftsman). In time, molds were made for the casting of pieces—which allowed for quicker, cheaper and more-uniform production. Basic shapes were assigned a number and were often used for several different artists, glazes or decorated patterns. After painting a piece, Mycock would sign it with his “cipher” and scratch-in a date code.
Besides designing and decorating ceramics, William Mycock was a lover of music and an accomplished watercolorist.
The piece above—designed, decorated and signed by William Mycock—was made in 1932.