An original Wemyss Ware cat (1895)

Wemyss Ware (pronounced weemz) is the brand name of the Griselda Hill Pottery, which is situated in the village of Ceres, Fife, Scotland.

It was established in 1985 to produce colourful pottery based on the local Wemyss Ware that was made nearby in the 19th century. This earlier pottery was first produced in 1892 by immigrant Czech designer/decorator Karel Nekola and local pottery owner Robert Heron. The pottery took its name from the Wemyss family, titled incumbents of Wemyss Castle on the east coast of Fife, who were early and enthusiastic patrons of Nekola and Heron's ceramic creations. It subsequently became popular with collectors.

The original Fife pottery closed in 1932, during the Great Depression, and the rights to Wemyss Ware were bought by the Bovey pottery in Devon. Karel Nekola's son Joseph, himself a designer, moved to Devon, where he carried on producing Wemyss Ware and training apprentices, including Esther Weeks. Joseph taught her the brand's famous 'cabbage rose' motif and other painting techniques he had learned from his father. When Josef died in 1952, Esther became head decorator and continued to paint Wemyss Ware until the Bovey Pottery closed in 1957.

The Wemyss name was resurrected in the 1980s when Griselda Hill became interested in pottery while teaching art in London. After seeing Wemyss Ware in Kirkcaldy Museum, she became interested in creating Wemyss Ware-inspired pottery at an affordable price. After the first product, a cat modelled on an original displayed in the museum, was produced, the line has grown. In 1994, the Wemyss Ware trademark was acquired by the Griselda Hill Pottery. Esther Weeks, now in her seventies, is a regular visitor and she both paints a few pieces and also shares with a new generation of painters the techniques used on the original Wemyss Ware. [1][2]


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