The Torquay Pottery Collectors Society (TPCS) was formed in 1976 by like minded people so that collectors could come together to share a common interest in the Old South Devon Potteries. The society has a world wide membership and benefits include a quarterly colour magazine and several national and regional friendly meetings where pots are discussed, bought and sold as well as having talks given by knowledgeable speakers.

The Torquay Pottery Collectors Society publishes a wide range of books on the pottery made in the Torquay area since the 1860′s. All of these books and more are available online from the TPCS Shop.


For the new collector the books illustrated below will give a good overview of the Art Pottery, Animals and Mottoware produced by all these potteries. They are the excellent:

Torquay Pottery Mark Book  - Edited by Keith Poole

This edition has been fully updated with in excess of 200 new marks being added, and now contains marks and back stamps from all of the Devon and related potteries. As well as the North Devon and Somerset additions, there are also some exciting new trade outlet marks, and an index to the contents of the book. To accommodate these additions a new format has been used, and whilst it will still be a pocket size reference book, it should withstand everyday usage better than its predecessor, having a more robust cover.

Sample pages from Torquay Pottery Mark Book Sample pages from Torquay Pottery Mark Book
Sample pages from Torquay Pottery Mark Book  

Torquay Pottery A Local Story  - Compiled by Andy Violet

Although originally produced as a catalogue to accompany a major exhibition of Torquay pottery, held in Newton Abbot, Devon, in September 2001, this is undoubtedly the best beginners’ overview of the subject of Torquay pottery currently available. Produced in A5 format, with 80 pages and card covers, it contains full colour captioned photographs of all the 471 pots which appeared in the exhibition. In addition, there are over eighteen pages of text, giving a good outline history of all of the potteries in the Torquay area; which existed between 1869, when the Watcombe Pottery commenced manufacture, and 1969, when the little St Marychurch Pottery closed (some seven years after Watcombe had closed its doors). After reading this catalogue, the complete beginner will have a broad understanding of the incredibly wide range of wares manufactured by the Torquay potteries and will, furthermore, come to appreciate them in their historical perspective. Even the more advanced collector will be delighted and amazed by the number of different patterns and shapes which remain to be collected; although, even this wide assortment only really scratches the surface.

Sample pages from 'Local Story' Sample pages from 'Local Story'
Sample pages from 'Local Story'  

Torquay Mottowares - by Virginia Brisco

Published in 1989, this A5 sized volume contains 64 pages with 55 plates, 15 of them in full colour. The term ‘mottoware’ is used to describe any type of ceramics that has writing on it and this volume is a detailed illustrated guide to the mottowares produced by the many potteries in the South Devon area, the products of which are collectively known as Torquay pottery. The development of these mottowares is profusely illustrated, from early Aller Vale examples of the 1880s, down to the demise of the potteries in the 1960s. The subject is looked at, not just from the historical angle, for there are sections on how to identify and date them and on how they were made. Further sections deal with miniatures and children’s wares, mottowares with a Christmas theme, puzzle jugs and scent bottles and a final section lists just some of the many mottos which have been found on them.

Sample pages from 'Mottowares' Sample pages from 'Mottowares'
Sample pages from 'Mottowares'

The Art of the Torquay and South Devon Potters - Edited by Keith Poole.

This beautiful book was published by the T.P.C.S. in 1996, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Society. It is a large hard backed A4 size book containing 212 pages, packed with information, illustrations and photographs, nearly half of which are in full colour. The book focuses on superior examples of the Torquay potters’ art. New collectors will be amazed by the range of pots which were produced and by their quality.

The book will also suit the more enthusiastic Torquay pottery collector interested in the art pottery illustrated as well as those interested in the rich heritage of South Devon.  It contains the work the artists and decorators as well as the other pottery workers of Devon, their craft, tools and working conditions in over 50 articles written by collectors, researchers and pottery workers. The contents are well indexed with the book also containing pottery marks, pattern styles in addition to the many colour and monochrome illustrations of fine pottery.


Century of Ceramics – Royalty & the Torquay Potters in the Victorian Era – John Phillips & the Villages of the Three Wells – Early days at Torquay Terracotta Company – Watcombe – Exeter Art Pottery – Art Ware of Longpark Pottery – Lemon and Crute – Tor Vale, Lemon & Vale and Daison Potteries -  Torquay Pottery Company – Devonmoor Art Pottery – Torquay Grotesque and Model Animals – Birbeck Family of Decorators – William Higginbottom – Master Turner – Alexander Fisher (Snr) – Domenico Marcucci – the “Italian” at Aller – Charles Collard and the Scroll Patterns – Bill Howard – Pottery Artist – Christopher Dresser and the Torquay Potteries – Grotesque by design – Torquay Pottery Pattern Codes – Decorating Techniques – Devon Tors Pottery – Bovey Tracey Pottery – Longpark Pottery – John Skinner of Kingskerswell – Who’s Who of Pottery Workers  – Watcombe Flower Pots & Wall Pockets – Marks and Backstamps

Cover of Art of The Torquay and South Devon Potters Sample pages of the Art of the Torquay and South Devon Potters

The Artisans of the Torquay PotteriesCompiled by Andy Violet

This well illustrated A5 format book of 96 pages showing all the beautiful pots that were in the 2004 Exhibition at the Torquay Museum together with biographies of the workers, artists, decorators and designers associated with the Torquay potteries. A truly useful book for those seeking to obtain a quality collection by knowing what to look out for.

 All of these books above and more are available online from the TPCS Shop on: