This is my first pass at the section on this manufacturer in my in-progress book. As I (hopefully) unearth more information on this company and figures, this section will expand. Or not. Who knows?
Falcon Ware by J.H. Weatherby and Sons (UK)
Falcon Ware was a company located in the English town of Stoke-on-Trent, home to Weetman and approximately all the other pottery companies in the UK. This company had a long and storied history, dating all the way back to 1891 under the parent name of J.H Weatherby and Sons, Ltd., and closing permanently in April, 2000 after 109 years of continuous operation as a family run business. Sadly the buildings themselves no longer exist.
|Image courtesy thepotteries.org|
Falcon Ware takes its name from the name of the pottery works itself, which was an existing, though disused, pottery works when purchased by Weatherby in 1891. The majority of its output in the first half century were traditional table ware, but in the 1950s they began to make nursery items, and novelty animal figures. Enter Walt Disney.
In 1958 Weatherby planned a series of at least 7 figures based on Disney's Alice in Wonderland. This range was advertised in at least one periodical in the UK, and price sheets are known to exist. Sadly the deal seems to not have been completed and most of the range was never produced. But, there does exist an archive photo from the Weatherby family that I have reproduced below. I have been unable to contact either the author or the Weatherby family and the publisher is no longer in business.
|Image courtesy of Susan Jean Verbeek, The Falcon Ware Story, (Pottery Publications, 1996)|
This was the first Weatherby Falcon Ware figure I acquired. While I had no idea what it was, and it was not sold as Disney, it just looked right. The design and style of him just screams Disney, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Weetman figure. Not surprising given that the two factories were less than four miles apart.
The Queen of Hearts
This figure of the Queen of Hearts is what led to my discovery of the history of the Weatherby Falcon Ware. The auction listing actually referenced the Verbeek book in the description, and I was able to get a copy of the book even before the auction closed. The look of this figure marks it as clearly Disney. I am not aware of any other incarnation of the Queen that has the same color scheme and design as in the Disney version. All this figure is missing is the black stripes in the front of her dress!