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Last updated: 1st August 2011
A tile maker and earthenware manufacturer at the Great Western Pottery, Heathfield, Newton Abbot, Devon. Candy & Co. was established by Frank Candy in 1850 and operated as a tile manufactory until sold to J. Howard Fox in about 1880. The Fox family remained in control of the business until at least the 1950s. The Candy & Co. Ltd business entered receivership in 1991 and was subsequently sold to new owners. Further ownership changes followed and production ceased in November 1998 and the pottery was demolished shortly afterward.
Candy & Co. was a large-scale manufacturer of tiles, glazed bricks, and other architectural and industrial ceramics throughout its life, rivaling companies in the Staffordshire Potteries. It was also the parent company of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. Ltd, one of Devon’s largest miners and suppliers of ball clay to the pottery industry. Ornamental tiled fireplaces were an important Candy line meeting a demand stimulated by public interest in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ and ‘Art Nouveau’ styles of the late-19th and early 20th century. Tiled fireplaces were still listed as an important product in a 1952 profile published in the Pottery Gazette. Kitchen and bathroom tiles for the post-war housing boom dominate manufacture in the 1960s and beyond.
Domestic earthenware and ornamental and art pottery was introduced from about 1916 under the name ‘Wescontree Ware’. According to an article in the Pottery Gazette (Vol. 77 pages 1755-56) the domestic ware followed the company’s manufacture of porous stoneware pots required for the wet batteries used in British submarines in the First World War. These were slip-cast domestic wares including the usual jugs, bowls, vases, lamp bases etc were described in a contemporary publication as ‘articles of household utility and ornament’ and decorated with ‘plain, mottled and metallic’ decorative glazes developed in course of the tile business.
Production of hand-thrown art ware was started in the mid-1930s and these attractive Art Deco influenced wares were sold under the trade name ‘Candy Ware’, and by 1939 were being sold through the London shops such as Liberty & Co., and for export. Production of art ware ceased during the Second World War but was resumed briefly before closing in the 1950s when the business returned full time to the manufacture of tiles. The art ware of Candy & Co. Ltd is little known and probably under-rated by collectors.
The company used the trade names ‘Wescontree Ware and Candy Ware and these names form the basis of most marks. The initials ‘N A’ for Newton Abbot appear on many wares.
Turner, I. N. (2000). Candy Art Pottery. Hillian Press, Derbyshire.
Pottery Gazette (1952), Volume 77, pages 1755-56.
© Michael Perry 2011
© Mike Perry 2011