Taylor Tunnicliff & Company
(Previously incorrectly spelled Taylor Tunnicliffe & Company)

Manufacturer of Pottery Bases for Samuel Clarke Fairy Lamps
(A work in progress)

Very little is known about the history of the Taylor Tunnicliff & Company during the late 1880's - 1890's.  It was during this period that they were commissioned by Samuel Clarke to make custom designed pottery bases for his fairy lamps.  However, one published source reveals the following historical information.


This firm, which has achieved world fame in the manufacture of high-grade ceramics for the electrical industry was founded in the year 1867 by Thomas Taylor and William Tunnicliff for the purpose of making specialized pottery articles.

Operations were started at a small factory at Shelton, which soon became inadequate to meet demands and its activities were transferred to much larger premises at Eastwood, Ltd, Hanley (more recently enlarged by adjacent buildings housing well-equipped laboratories) which, to this day, remain the Registered Offices of the group of firms controlled by Taylor Tunnicliff (Electrical Industries) Limited.

To increase production capacity, factories were built at Stone and Longton, and in 1938, the Holding Company, under the Chairmanship of Sir John Kent, C.B.E., was formed to control the Companies in the Taylor Tunnicliff group comprising:  Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. Ltd., Hanley and Stone; Taylor Tunnicliff (Refractories) Limited, Longton; Electric & Ordnance Accessories Co. Ltd., Shelton; with a majority holding in Electric Transmission Ltd., at Etruria.

Thc activities of the group continue to expand, and the basis on which the original Company was formed, engineering knowledge plus knowledge of art and science of pottery manufacture, remains the mainspring of it's vitality.

(Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. Ltd., Hanley.)

Prestige and Progress - A Survey of Industrial North Staffordshire

1955 publication of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce - page 77


This record of the company history reveals a couple important bits of information.  First, it supports that the Taylor Tunnicliff & Company was in the business of making "specialized pottery articles" during the late 1800's.  Secondly, it points to a different spelling of the company name - "Tunnicliff" versus "Tunnicliff".  If this is the same company that provided Clarke his fairy lamp bases, the proper identification of the company should be Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. 

There are supporting official documents (UK Registered Designs) that confirm this spelling of the company name.  In addition, there are contemporary advertisements that show the proper name as Taylor Tunnicliff & Co.  That said, there are are also several other accredited references that contend the spelling is "Tunnicliff" including the "Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks" by Geoffrey Godden. It was this reference, according to Bob and Pat Ruf, that was adopted in the preparation of their book "Fairy Lamps".

In Godden's reference he records: 

"Taylor, Tunnicliff" and "Taylor, Tunnicliff & Co. (LTD.)", various addresses, Hanley. Staffordshire Potteries. 1868 - . Earthenwares and China. From about 1898 only utilitarian objects have been produced. Distinguishing details of several printed marks of differing design: name of the individual pattern is often included, c. 1868-80.

This reference also includes several variations of the Taylor Tunnicliff & Company trademark.  Surprisingly, what has come to be known as the "Kings Crown" is not among them.  It is somewhat perplexing that a common trademark on fairy lamp bases is not recorded in the Godden encyclopaedia.

While we have a wealth of information, for the purposes of this article, however, I will continue with the spelling to which we have become accustomed.  However, an original design application indicating the proper company name as Taylor Tunnicliff(e) and Company is pretty convincing evidence that a "spelling change" may be in order.

Additional information provided by Club member, Louis, indicates that Wedgwood took over Taylor Tunnicliff & Company in 1898 and continued to make decorative pottery to the end of 1899.  The company then switched to making electrical insulators only, hence new company, Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. Ltd.

Samuel Clarke licensed the Taylor Tunnicliff & Company to manufacture pottery bases for his fairy lamps.   These bases, unlike some other bases used for fairy lamps, were specifically designed for fairy lamps and bore the Clarke name along with the Taylor Tunnicliff trademark.  Almost all the fairy lamp bases had Taylor Tunnicliff model numbers assigned to them.  In addition, some registered designs were recorded by Clarke and a few had UK patents associated with them.

This following table identifies the Taylor Tunnicliff pottery bases that have been documented.  This documentation could not have been accomplished without the work previously done by Bob and Pat Ruf in the preparation of their book Fairy Lamps - Elegance in Candle Lighting. Additionally, several members of the Fairy Lamp Club made contributions to this documentation by providing additional photos from their person collections.  I am grateful for the support everyone has provided.

If you have additional models or variants of known models, please drop me a note at jimsapp7@msn.com.   With everyone's help, we can document all of these fine products.

Before you begin reviewing the collection, I think an explanation of some of the details would be helpful.

It is important to understand that there is no evidence that the Taylor Tunnicliff & Company manufactured any fairy lamp shades. They manufactured only the bases to support the shades.  The pottery bases were made in two sizes, Fairy and Pyramid. There is no evidence that they made any Wee-size bases.  Without exception, the known bases bear the Clarke name and almost all bear the Taylor Tunnicliff trademark and associated model number.  A few bases bear a British registered design number or patent number.  The registered designs, however, were recorded by Clarke, not by Taylor Tunnicliff & Company.

Based on unverified descriptions, at least seven different Taylor Tunnicliff trademarks have been found on their fairy lamp bases. Two configurations are the same but printed in two colors, black and blue. In addition, anomalies have been discovered that include one with the word "PATENT" scratched out, and one with a slightly different crown design.    In some cases, the same model of fairy lamp base has been found with different Taylor Tunnicliff trademarks.  While the documentation of the various trademarks is interesting, the exact time period each trademark design was used or other significance remains a mystery.

The most common, shown on the right, is printed in blue and contains the initials "TTC" within a circle under a crown.  A similar style of trademark is identified in Koala's New Dictionary of Marks - Pottery and Porcelain, 1850 to Present as:

T&T_Trademark_Koval_Mod.jpg (6180 bytes)

Taylor, Tunnicliff & Company
Hanley, Staffordshire, England
Earthenware, porcelain, printed
ca. 1875-1898 (1868 - 1964+) 

The Koval example of the trademark, however, is significantly different that what is found on most fairy lamp bases. The crown shown in the trademark, referred to as the "Queen's Crown", is a more common Taylor Tunnicliff trademark found on other pottery products.  This version of the trademark, however, is rarely found on fairy lamp bases.  The crown illustrated on the Taylor Tunnicliff fairy lamp bases is a very rare version known as the "King's Crown" and includes a dentil design above the crown.

There is no additional information mentioned regarding the other variants of the trademark.  The other Taylor Tunnicliff trademarks employ the word "PATENT" and some include the letter "S" below the trademark.   Certainly, these modifications to the trademark have some significance but only more detailed documentation from the company archives will shed any light on it.

With few exceptions, the Taylor Tunnicliff trademark is stamped in blue ink on fairy lamp bases.  There are, however, some fairy lamp bases (without model numbers) with the trademark stamped in black ink.  Club member, Louis, reports: "When the company was reformed under the name "Taylor Tunnicliff (Eastwood) Ltd; in 1901" they continued the series of pattern numbers, but with black back stamps. While the exact date of the color change is unknown, Louis speculates that the black color may have been out of respect for Queen Victoria who passed away January 22nd, 1901 at the age of 81.  This practiced continued until World War I when operations ended." 

T&T_Logo_Mod.jpg (60787 bytes)

Almost all of the Taylor Tunnicliff fairy lamp bases bear a hand-written design number.  It is located somewhere on the bottom of the pottery base and not necessarily near the Taylor Tunnicliff trademark as shown above.  The number is usually written in a reddish color and may include the suffix "A" signifying a pryamid-size. The "A" suffix, however, is not always present on some pyramid bases.  Clarke, on the other hand, used "1/2" or ".5" to signify a pyramid size in his model numbers. The Taylor Tunnicliff model number appears to be associated with the decoration and not the shape of the base.  There appears to be no correlation between Taylor Tunnicliff's model numbers and Clarke's model numbers.

T&T_MarkerMarks.jpg (17792 bytes)

A few Taylor Tunnicliff fairy lamp bases also include what I consider "maker's marks".  They may be a simple line with a series of dots associated with the hand-written model number and a number (most often a "5") or other unidentified symbol pressed into the clay.  While there is no real documentation as to what these marks are, I consider them to be potters marks and decorators marks.  In the tabular documentation below, I will make note of these marks in case any significance can be learned from them. However, much of the documentation associated with these marks is not available. 

Many documented Taylor Tunnicliff bases were produced in both "fairy" and "pyramid" sizes.   The designs were similar in each size but the decoration and "hand-tooled" features were slightly different to accommodate the change in scale.

T&T_Fairy_Pyramid_side.jpg (258548 bytes)

These examples are Taylor Tunnicliff model numbers 1443A (pyramid-size) and 1443 (fairy-size).  They are illustrated true to scale in order to appreciate the difference in size.  The actual difference in size will vary somewhat depending on the style of the base.  The decoration, while similar, is quite different to accommodate the scale.  In addition, the potter has modified the rim of the base slightly.  Perhaps intentionally or perhaps simply a use of "artistic license."  I suspect nothing was left to the whim of the potter and the change in design is intentional.  It is also interesting to note, that the design called for both pressed and hand-tooled shapes to be joined together to form the base.  Clearly, the production of this ware was no trivial process and involved several artisans and craftsmen.

T&T_Fairy_Pyramid_top.jpg (191508 bytes)

All known Taylor Tunnicliff pottery fairy lamp bases are identified as being for use with Clarke's fairy lamps.  These two examples show how the pyramid and fairy sizes are marked.  It is also interesting to note that the pottery base includes the ridges in the lamp cup consistent with Clarke's patented design, a design he fiercely protected.

As with so many other examples of Clarke's fairy lamps, those bases manufactured by Taylor Tunnicliff were documented in color advertisements.  The example below is from a supplement to the Pottery Gazette, August 1888.   It is characteristic of Clarke's marketing skills while promoting his new line of fairy lamps.  It is interesting to note that Clarke gave no credit to those who manufactured his products.  In this case, neither Thomas Webb or Taylor Tunnicliff received any credit for their fine work. 

T&T_Ad_PG1888.jpg (412088 bytes)

The Graphic May 19, 1888

While many of the advertisements of Taylor Tunnicliff bases show Burmese shades, it is not necessary that a Burmese shade be included with the base to be complete.  As with so many of Clarke's designs, it was the decision of the final consumer to determine which shade to purchase with the base.  The Clarke model numbers shown above reflect the design of the base, not the base and shade combination.  With that in mind, I have purposely turned the shade portion of the following images to a "grey scale" so as not to detract from the purpose of this documentation.  That is the:

Taylor Tunnicliff & Company's
production of pottery bases for Samuel Clarke's fairy lamps.


TT Co. Model
Rd Number Registered
Date & Owner
Clarke Model Number TT Co.
Size Reference

T&T_0000.jpg (47100 bytes)

Unknown None Not Applicable 285
T&T_Trademark_Plain_Black.jpg (19310 bytes)
Black Stamp

T&T_0000c.jpg (19848 bytes)

Unknown None Not Applicable Undocumented in Clarke advertisements T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-514

T&T_0369.jpg (24404 bytes)

None Not Applicable Undocumented in Clarke advertisements T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-282

T&T_1437.jpg (38116 bytes)

1437 None Not Applicable 248 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-511

T&T_1437a.jpg (28132 bytes)

1437a None Not Applicable 248 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-512

T&T_1438.jpg (30008 bytes)

1438 None Not Applicable 241 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-501

T&T_1438a.jpg (26180 bytes)

1438a None Not Applicable 241.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-502

T&T_1439.jpg (23428 bytes)

1439 None Not Applicable 246 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-509

T&T_1439a.jpg (27720 bytes)

1439a None Not Applicable 246.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes)
T&T_Trademark_Queen.jpg (54858 bytes)
Pyramid Ruf-510

T&T_1440.jpg (31288 bytes)

1440 None Not Applicable 238 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-497

T&T_1440a.jpg (31324 bytes)

1440a None Not Applicable 238.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-498

T&T_1440a_1.jpg (22428 bytes)

1440a None Not Applicable 238.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes)
Pyramid Ruf-506

T&T_1441.jpg (77710 bytes)

1441 None Not Applicable 247 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1771_Patent.jpg (27484 bytes)

1441 None Not Applicable 247 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Fairy Ruf-508

T&T_1441a.jpg (22012 bytes)

1441a None Not Applicable 247.5 T&T_Trademark_Patent_Scratch.jpg (20446 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-507

T&T_1442.jpg (32460 bytes)

1442 None Not Applicable 439 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-503

T&T_1442a_Patent.jpg (24412 bytes)

1442a None Not Applicable 439.5 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-504

T&T_1443_Patent.jpg (35712 bytes)

1443 None Not Applicable 245 T&T_Trademark_Patent.jpg (9816 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1443_Patent_S.jpg (37492 bytes)

1443 None Not Applicable 245 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1443a_Patent_S.jpg (27424 bytes)

1443a None Not Applicable 245.5 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-505

T&T_1444.jpg (29436 bytes)

1444 None Not Applicable 240 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Ruf-500

T&T_1444a.jpg (20320 bytes)

1444a None Not Applicable 240.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-499
T&T_1445.jpg (14032 bytes)
Need Photo
Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 235 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Private Collection
T&T_1446_Patent_S.jpg (29860 bytes) 1446
Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 242 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes)
Fairy Ruf-494

1446 None Not Applicable 243 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1447.jpg (94554 bytes)

Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 244 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1449_Patent_S.jpg (28832 bytes)

1449 None Not Applicable 236 T&T_Trademark_PatentS.jpg (8212 bytes) Fairy Ruf-495

T&T_1450.jpg (18996 bytes)

1450 None Not Applicable 237 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes)

Crown in trademark has a slightly different design than other examples.

Fairy Ruf-518

T&T_0000a.jpg (30116 bytes)

Unknown None Not Applicable 277.5
without stand
T&T_S.jpg (15196 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-490

T&T_1511_Rd93323.jpg (19944 bytes)

1511 93323 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
279 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-491

T&T_1512_Rd93324.jpg (61659 bytes)

Base Model 1512

Cup Model 1672

Both pieces marked
Rd 93324
11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
280 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-489

T&T_1513.jpg (19512 bytes)

1513 None Not Applicable 274 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-486
T&T_1513_Pink.jpg (205664 bytes) 1513
Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 274 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Private Collection

T&T_1514.jpg (15188 bytes)

1514 None Not Applicable 276
with cream background
T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes)
T&T_Trademark_Plain_Black.jpg (19310 bytes)
Black Stamp
Pyramid Ruf-484 and Private Collection

T&T_1514_2.jpg (259283 bytes)

Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 276
with red background
T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Private Collection

T&T_1515.jpg (53183 bytes)
Need Photo

Dots_2.jpg (3716 bytes)
(Model Number and lines are in black)
None Not Applicable 278 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1516.jpg (20880 bytes)

1516 None Not Applicable 275
with pink background
T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-485

T&T_0000b.jpg (22800 bytes)

1517 None Not Applicable 286.5 T&T_Trademark_Queen.jpg (54858 bytes)
T&T_Trademark_Plain_Black.jpg (19310 bytes)
Pyramid Ruf-514

T&T_1518.jpg (28972 bytes)

1518 None Not Applicable 286 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-513

T&T_1519.jpg (26832 bytes)

1519 None Not Applicable 282 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-515

T&T_1519_3dots.jpg (17896 bytes)

Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
None Not Applicable 282 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-493
T&T_0000_Rd93320.jpg (28364 bytes) 1527 Pink 93320 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
284.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-516

T&T_1527_Rd93320_Queen_3dots.jpg (47416 bytes)

1527 Blue
Dot_Dot.jpg (4562 bytes)
93320 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
284.5 T&T_Trademark_Queen.jpg (54858 bytes) Pyramid Private Collection
T&T_1527_Lavender.jpg (424680 bytes) 1527 Lavender 93320 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
284.5 T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Private Collection
T&T_1528_Rd93321_Green.jpg (185726 bytes) 1528 93321 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
240 (?) T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes)

Clarke trademark printed in green inside cup

Fairy Private Collection

T&T_1529_Rd93321.jpg (28208 bytes)

with "zig-zag" line
93321 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
240 B T&T_Trademark_Plain.jpg (9464 bytes) Pyramid Ruf-517

T&T_1529_Rd93321.jpg (28208 bytes)

Same model as 1529 but the bottom is unglazed with no markings.  Clarke trademark is printed on the inside of the lamp cup in red. 240 B No trademark Pyramid Private Collection

T&T_1529_Germany.jpg (117393 bytes)

Not a Taylor Tunnicliff product 93321 11 February 1888 by
Samuel Clarke
240 B Made in Germany Pyramid Private Collection.

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