William Davenport & Co


Location and period of operation:

W Davenport & Co





Earthenware, porcelain and Ironstone manufacturer at Longport, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent

  • John Davenport was an apprentice to Thomas Wolfe at Stoke and then worked in partnership with him as a china manufacturer in Liverpool.

  • Around 1793 Davenport took over John Brindley's pottery factory at Longport. [James Brindley was a younger brother of James Brindley the canal engineer]

  • In 1801 John Davenport started to make glass as well as pottery

  • John Davenport retired c.1830 and the business was continued by his sons Henry and William who extended the works. 

  • When Henry died  in 1835 the business name was changed to W. Davenport & Co. 

  • By the 1840s the four factories in Longport employed over 1,500 people. 

  • After William died in 1869 the business was continued by his son Henry (grandson of the original founder John Davenport) until its closure in 1887.



The Ceramic Art of Great Britain
Llewellynn Jewitt - published 1878


"Longport. — (Davenport & Co.) The famous works of Messrs. Davenport & Son date back more than a hundred years, the centenary of their establishment having taken place in 1873. 

In 1773, a manufactory was erected at Longport by John Brindley (brother of the celebrated James Brindley, the engineer, both of whom were natives of Tunstead, in Derbyshire), who also built for himself a handsome residence near at hand. This house was purchased in 1843 for a parsonage for St. Paul's, Burslem, and was again, in 1858, sold to Mr. W. Davenport. Shortly after 1773 Mr. Edward Bourne built another manufactory, and this was followed by a third, erected by Mr. Robert Williamson, who in 1775 married Anne (nee Henshall), widow of James Brindley, the engineer.

In 1793 the first-named manufactories passed into the hands of Mr. John Davenport, who greatly extended their operations. In 1797 Mr. John Davenport added to his other operations "the chemical preparation of litharge and white lead for the use of potters," which, however, was afterwards discontinued. In 1801 the business of glass-making was added and is still carried on. 

In 1803 Mr. Davenport, supported by his neighbours at Longport, offered to raise, clothe, and equip, free of expense to Government, except arms, a volunteer corps of 500 men, and his offer was accepted, the number being limited by Government to four companies of 80 rank and file each. Mr. Davenport became Major of this force, and raised it to a high state of discipline. In connection with this it may be well to note that one of Mr. Davenport's workmen at that time, and a member of his volunteer corps, was William Clowes, a nephew of Aaron Wedgwood, to whom he had been apprenticed. This William Clowes was a co-founder with Hugh Bourne of the now wide-spread sect of Primitive Methodists. 

About 1830 Mr. Davenport retired from active business, and chiefly resided at Westwood Hall, near Leek, where he died in 1848. The business was then carried on by the second son, Mr. Henry Davenport (who died in 1835), and the youngest son, Mr. William Davenport. Mr. Henry Davenport purchased the manufactory of Mr. Robert Williamson, and also his residence; these he enlarged and improved and added to his other works. 

In 1832 Mr. John Davenport was elected M.P. for the borough of Stoke-upon-Trent, being one of the first two members for that newly enfranchised borough. After the death of Mr. Henry Davenport the manufactories were carried on by his youngest brother, Mr. William Davenport, under the style of "W. Davenport & Co." This gentleman died in 1869, and the entire business is now carried on by his only son, Mr. Henry Davenport, who fully sustains the high character of the works and of their varied productions.

In the earlier years of the Longport manufactory, earthenware alone was produced, but no pieces of Brindley's make are known. Mr. Davenport at first confined his operations to the manufacture of white, cream-coloured, and blue-printed wares, and these were of good substantial quality; his blue-printed plates with open-work rim of the same general character as those of the Herculaneum Works at Liverpool, are to be seen in most collections. Later on china was commenced, and at the present time this forms an equally extensive branch of the business with the earthenware. In both these, all the usual services and miscellaneous articles are produced, from the plain to the most elaborately decorated, both for the home, the continental, and the Brazilian markets; warehouses having been many years ago established by Mr. Davenport, M.P., at Hamburg and at Lubeck.

The china produced by Messrs. Davenport at the present time is of remarkably fine and good quality, both in body, in glaze, and in make, and in all these particulars ranks among the best produced in the district. Their tea and dessert ware is of extreme excellence, and many of the patterns are unsurpassed for richness of colouring and gilding by any other house. Among these specialities, their adaptations of the fine old Indian patterns, and such designs as gave so important a character to the productions of the old Derby works in their palmiest days, are especially good. The deep blues, the rich gradations of red, and the other colours employed, are in some of the patterns laid on with a lavish richness, and being combined with the most elaborate and delicate as well as massive gilding, produce intricate patterns of great beauty and of sumptuous appearance when ''set out." Some of the cups (notably those with sunk panels, and others which are bowl-shaped and supported upon gilt feet) are of elegant form, and are as faultless in manipulation as they are in decoration. In blue and white, whether in pencilled, ordinary transfer printing, or " flown " patterns, Messrs. Davenport are highly successful; and the blues they introduce have all the delicacy and purity of the best Oriental. The same remark as to purity and cleanness of tone will apply to their ground colours — the celadon and the rose du Barry — in both of which they produce charming but simple services, as they do also in white ; in the latter the " potting " of some — approaching closely to egg-shell — is remarkably delicate and clever.

The marks used by Messrs. Davenport have been various, but almost in every instance the anchor has been the distinguishing characteristic ; it is the trade mark of the firm. The crown was first used by them, on the Royal Service for William IV., and is now generally used on porcelain services. Figs. 429 to 436 are impressed marks.




The printed marks are, a circular garter, bearing the words DAVENPORT LONGPORT STAFFORDSHIRE, surrounding an anchor and the words " Stone China " in script. Another is a shield, with the words 30 CANNING PLACE LIVERPOOL 82 FLEET STREET LONDON encircled by a garter bearing the words DAVENPORT LONGPORT STAFFORDSHIRE and surmounted by the crest, an anchor on an heraldic wreath. Another has a circular garter, bearing the words DAVENPORTS & CO. surrounding the address, 82, FLEET STREET LONDON." 





Examples of Davenport Ware: 


detail of the Montilla pattern
examples are known in grey and blue

"A romantic scene with a lake and a pseudo-Gothic temple with a woman in its doorway - Montilla is a Spanish town in the province of Cordoba. It gives its name to Amontillado sherry and is also known for its pottery" Coysh and Henrywood

This pattern is known to have been produced from the late 1840s to the mid 1860s

Ironstone Montilla

the printed mark features an eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other, it is taken from the Great Seal of the United States - such marks were used by some English potters to try to appeal to the American market

- more on Ironstone -


A small bowl which was dug up in 2023 in New York State, US, in what is believed to be an 1850+ privy.

Although marked as Davenport, this is copy of the Davenport pattern. When compared with the example above the lack of detail can be seen in the tree and the temple and the woman in the doorway is missing. 

There are radial and circumferential stress cracks on the rim  

Ironstone Montilla

printed and impressed mark on the bowl 

photos courtesy: Mary Kummer 




bowl in the ERICA pattern 

photos courtesy: Sasha McEwan





saucer - hand painted with gilding 
number: 1074 


"A comparatively rare mark, printed overglaze in a pink-grey shade. 
c 1830-40"

‘Davenport Pottery & Porcelain’ 
by T A Lockett.

photos courtesy: Karen Strelko




Ironstone plate in a variation on the Willow Pattern 

mid 19th Century 

Longport, Staffordshire
Stone China

photos courtesy: Brendan O'Malley 


Florentine  Fountain

"Florentine Fountain - Davenport. A typical romantic scence in the rococo style with a fountain, bridge, buildings and a statue of Neptune with his trident. The floral border features several butterflies."

The Dictionary of Blue & White Printed Pottery 1780-1880
Coysh & Henrywood 


typical printed mark - generally the maker name 'DAVENPORT' is not included  




Maker: Davenport  Pattern: Florentine Fountain    c1840s

Florentine Fountain is a series of various imaginary scenes used on different ware - mainly plates but also tureens and serving dishes. The border design is notable for the use of large decorative butterflies. 
Mostly in blue printed ware but also red and black, not so common is the two colour design with the border in a different colour than the centre scene. 
Printed cartouche backstamp of a fountain containing the words Florentine Fountain.



mark including the makers name and typical impressed anchor mark used by Davenport. 

impressed anchor mark - this style used c.1830-60

either side of the anchor are two numbers which give the year of manufacture. In this example a 4 either side (although difficult to read) - giving 1844.

The number 6 above the mark perhaps indicates the size of the plate. 

  photos courtesy:  Judy Davenport




Toilet set in the Grecian pattern

W. Davenport & Co

the registration diamond shows that the pattern was first registered on the 30th September 1881

  photos courtesy:  Kirsten Wiggins



tureen in the Mersey Pattern

A printed design in aesthetic style, to the left a young sailor in shield shaped panel, 
a yacht in a square panel to the right, seaweed fronds behind, Aesthetic motif border

This was a popular pattern mostly brown in colour also in blue. A full range of dinner ware was made, including platters, tureens, teapots.  

Davenports Limited

the registration number 4312 shows that the pattern was first registered on the 29th March 1884





tureen in the Florentine Pattern

NOTE: this pattern is not related to the Florentine Fountain series

this pattern is in the aesthetic style 

Davenports Limited

the registration number 46849 shows that the pattern was first registered in 1886 - the business closed in 1887 and so the manufacturing date can be accurately positioned to these two years



plate in the traditional Imari style, hand painted orange-brown and 
cobalt blue with gilt accents

- more on the Imari style


printed with crown over




c. 1870-87


photos courtesy: Jennifer Thomlinson




Marks used on ware for identification:


impressed mark with or without an anchor
lower case name marks are 1783 to 1810


impressed mark with or without an anchor
upper case name marks
are post 1805 


marks with "LTD" or "LIMITED" are c.1881-87 


mark used on some ware for the American market - it incorporates the eagle of the Great Seal

this printed mark is also accompanied by an impressed mark with date numbers either side of the anchor - in this example a 4 and 8, showing that the ware was produced in 1848 

The number 4 above the mark perhaps indicates the size of the plate. 





- click for more information on Davenport marks -

Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks