The incomparable beauty of Hull Pottery

There are many people (too many in my opinion) who pay little or no attention to vintage or antique things. Either they aren’t curious, or simply don’t care that something was handed down by Grandmom from her own mother.

So it’s all too common for someone to own a teapot like the one shown below with no clue that it’s a genuine, vintage, collectible Hull. If they aren’t into antiques, they may very well sell it for a couple of dollars at a yard sale or flea market.

Bad for them. Good for you.

Hull art pottery is highly collectible, and gaining in interest every year.
Hull Pottery was founded in 1907, and quickly became known for its quality plain and faience tiles, which were sold through the William H. Jackson Company. Soon, Hull was making vases for florists, as well as other art pottery.

In 1943 the company struck gold with their Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar, which is often sought by collectors for its vibrant colors, fun retro theme and well-rendered design.Hull expanded the Red Riding Hood line, and had the finished pieces decorated by Chicago’s Royal China and Novelty Company. (If you find the original casserole dish, you’ll strike gold as well – it’s extremely rare and collectible!)

But it was the embossed floral line that has made Hull Pottery products so desirable today.
The timeless patterns featured soft pastels – usually turquoise, pink, yellow, rose and blue — that shaded from one color to another. Most were made in a matte finish; however, there are some patterns in a higher gloss.

Some of the patterns:

  • Magnolia
  • Calla Lily
  • Orchid
  • Open Rose
  • Wildflower
  • Dogwood
  • Iris
  • Tulip
  • Ebb Tide (glossy)
  • Parchment and Pine (glossy)
  • Blossom Flite
  • Woodland (glossy and matte)
  • Bow Knot
  • Tropicana (highly collectible)

Hull continued to supply florists with figural pots, ranging from lambs and swans to baby carriages, from the 1940s to the 1960s. In the late 1930s, Hull even made mugs and bottles for Shulton’s Old Spice (although there were problems with the bottles, these pieces are still collectible)!

Unfortunately, a flood and fire destroyed the pottery in 1950. The replacement equipment couldn’t produce the original matte finishes, so all new Hull items from 1952 until the plant closed for good in 1986 were glossy. The “new” company also introduced piggy banks, novelty items and serving pieces at this time – many of which are collectible.

Hill Pottery Pheasant Planter, 1961. Photo courtesy of YustaWas, Etsy

Hill Pottery Pheasant Planter, 1961. Photo courtesy of YustaWas, Etsy

Nobody makes pottery like Hull.
The perfection of design, unique coloring and quality clay created a line of products that are increasingly valued today.
Reproductions and fakes just can’t come close. Once you’ve seen, studied and held genuine vintage Hull up-close, your chances of being fooled are next to zero.

Before 1950: Hull USA or Hull Art USA
After 1950: Hull in large script or HULL in block letters

  • A lack of a mark doesn’t indicate a fake – some Hull pieces, particularly kitchenware, were not marked at all.
  • Hull is usually larger and heavier than the fakes, which have a more glass-like quality
  • There should be no imperfections, such as paint drips, on the originals.
  • Authentic, older Hull pieces are matte finish. Be suspicious of semi or high gloss, which could mean a more modern piece or a reproduction.
  • Other “backstamps” used by Hull: “Regal,” “Imperial” and “Pagoda.”
  • The standing rim on the bottom should not be glazed (same as with Transferware).
  • The “raw” Ohio clay should be yellowish-pink.
  • Hull made nothing before 1917 – so don’t believe anyone who tells you differently.

You can learn a lot more about Hull art pottery by consulting a good book, such as the Collectors Encyclopedia of Hull Pottery.

If you love learning about antiques as much as I do, follow the blog so you won’t miss the next article.
And enjoy the hunt!

About sarathurston

I'm a marketing communications writer who also loves antiques and collectibles. You can find my shop on Etsy at
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1 Response to The incomparable beauty of Hull Pottery

  1. Pingback: The incomparable beauty of Hull Pottery | From the desk of Sara Thurston

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