Oldcourt Ware Pottery was founded in 1898 in the small village of Oldcourt, located just outside of Bandon, Co Cork. It was founded by the partnership of Hugh and John O’Mahony and flourished for over 40 years. The O’Mahony brothers came from a well-known pottery family in Ireland. In 1892, Hugh and John O’Mahony took over the pottery business at Lissarda from their father, Daniel. They were also related to another prominent Irish pottery family, the Harneys of Durrus Pottery. The two families collaborated on many projects and shared firing kilns. Oldcourt ware had a reputation for producing very high quality pieces, especially majolica ware, which they produced in large quantities. They are known for using surprisingly bright colors; many pieces feature luscious purple grapes against a yellow background with heavy black accents. Other popular designs include flowers and butterflies. Old Court started out with a small staff of 12 workers but grew to employ over 100 people at its peak in 1900. Unfortunately they closed their doors in 1939 due to financial difficulties caused.
This guide will help you to identify an Oldcourt Ware Vase. You will learn about the company and its products. There are tips on how to spot a fake and how to care for your vase.
Old Court Ware was established by Dermot Ryan in Castlelyons, County Cork in 1962. It was set up to provide employment for local women in a rural area where employment opportunities were few. The company specialised in the production of domestic ware, mainly kitchen utensils but also included “decorative” items such as vases.
The pottery produced by Old Court Ware is instantly recognisable. It has a distinctive style that is very different to the Irish Belleek pottery produced at the same time. The pottery is made of earthenware clay and has a dark brown/black base with a thick cream coloured glaze applied over it. The distinctive hand painted designs are often of birds and flowers on one side and leaves on the other side.
Old Court Ware did not have any makers marks or stamps like many other makers have, so it can be hard to tell if it is genuine or not just by looking at it. The bulk of Oldcourt Ware Vases were made in the 1970s and 1980s, though the company has been producing pottery since the 1950s. The majority are marked with an incised 'Old Court Ware' or 'Oldcourt Ware', with some also featuring a paper label. Vases with painted decoration or special commissions tend to be more valuable than plain examples, as do those by early designers such as Rene Arsenault and Dora Billington. Special commissions should be marked accordingly, though many are not.
Oldcourt Ware was a small family run pottery in Kilkenny, Ireland. The pottery was started by a Swiss national, Walter Moser and his wife Elizabeth. They created and decorated their own ceramic items which were sold at the Old Court Hotel. The Moser's pottery creations were designed to appeal to tourists, who were numerous due to the Irish Free State being founded in 1922 and the attraction of visiting the medieval city of Kilkenny. They produced hand painted vases which were signed with their name or initials, as well as including a distinctive three leaf clover mark.
Vases are commonly found for sale on eBay and in charity shops throughout England and Ireland, where they can sell for under £15 (GBP).
Oldcourt Ware was made by the brothers William and Robert Godwin in Dublin, Ireland. It was produced from around 1880 until 1900, when it was renamed Liberty Ware (after the new owner, Liberty & Co) and the Godwin brothers left to start a new pottery factory in Sutton.
The Godwins were originally trained by their father Thomas, who worked at Minton's Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. He emigrated to Ireland in 1859 to work at the newly opened Belleek Pottery, where he soon became manager. The brothers started making Oldcourt Ware at their home in Old Court Road, Bray, then moved to their own factory in Blackrock Village near Dublin (which later became part of the Belleek site).