The History of Irish Wade Pottery
The history of Irish Wade Pottery began in 1946 when it was made under the name Wade Ulster. It was located in Portadown, County Armagh, Province of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Irish Wade was integrated as a subsidiary of George Wade & Sons, Ltd. During the 1950's, the factory produced die pressed ceramic insulators and the pottery was made to help repair England from the damage left after World War II.
By 1953, there was no longer a need for such large quantities of industrial ceramics so the company began searching for another product to make. At this time, the first Irish Wade Pottery pieces were produced as Wade Ulster entered into the ornamental pottery field.
The company gave the pottery its own backstamp to differentiate it from Wade England, whose mark was an owl on the back of a hand. Wade Ireland was stamped 'Irish Porcelain Made in Ireland' with a picture of a shamrock.
The Irish Wade started to become more distinctive and very different from the English Wade. Their tankards and steins were exceptionally popular with the beautiful speckled blue, green and gray glazes.
The most famous figurines were made by Wade Ulster including pixies, leprechauns and lucky fairy folk. For thirty years Irish Wade made many different figurines like baby pixies and large leprechauns. The lucky fairy folk series continued with a set of three pixie figurines each sitting on either a pig, a rabbit or an acorn. The leprechaun series continued with one as a cobbler, one with a pot of gold and one as a tailor.
Wade Ulster also produced a shamrock pottery series. This was a small series including an Irish comical pig or a pink comical elephant. They had slogans or names of interesting places (souvenirs) painted on the backs. Some elephants were produced blank. The shamrock cottage series pieces were sold in different versions over the years with and without place names. There was a pixie dish, a donkey and a cart posy bowl.
In 1966 Wade Ulster changed its name to Wade Ireland Ltd. In 1971 they produced their Mourne range which was a limited collection of fifteen pieces of household ware. The pieces were decorated in black with a single burnt orange flower motif and leaf imprinting.
The English Wade and the Irish Wade pottery had their own property series issued in 1984-1987. Bally-Whim Irish Village was similar to the Whimsey-on-Why English House collection and consisted of eight Irish village houses. Whimtrays were little butter type dishes made by Irish Wade pottery in 1985. The Whimtrays in this collection depicted the husky, king penguin, polar bear cub, a duck, a fawn and the trout.
It is well known that Irish Wade pottery would lend a hand to English Wade when a large order was contracted. Even though they used the Wade England backstamps on these products, some actually have Irish origins.
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