William Moorcroft, born into an established pottery family in Burslem, Staffordshire in 1872, was initially trained to be an art teacher at the South Kensington School of Art. However, in 1897 he was employed as a designer by James Macintyre & Co., a large Staffordshire earthenware manufacturer interested in expanding their production of art pottery. Building on the slipware techniques already established at Macintyre's, Moorcroft was able to develop a decorative style. With its raised slip decoration in floral and Art Nouveau forms, Moorcroft's Florian Ware was quickly successful, and by 1905 was being sold by major stores in London, Paris and New York. Popularity was underlined by success at international exhibitions, with Moorcroft winning his first Gold Medal at St Louis in 1904.
In 1913 Moorcroft left Macintyre's to set up his own pottery in a custom-built works nearby. New designs appeared, maintaining his reputation for colourful and delicate interpretations of natural forms and landscape. The famous powder blue tableware range, described as 'undatedly perfect' was introduced, and Moorcroft continued to enjoy international success. Throughout the 1920s and the 1930s designs were evolved to suit the changing tastes, with Moorcroft wares matching both the bright abstraction of the Jazz Age and the cooler, more austere style of Art Deco. Having survived the Second World War largely on the strength of its export business, the Moorcroft pottery was taken over by William's son Walter in 1945, following his father's sudden death.
Today, W. Moorcroft PLC is still an independent business, with William's younger son John in charge, Walter having retired in 1987. The method of production developed by William in 1897 is unchanged, but the pattern range has recently been expanded by the designer Sally Tuffin