Arthur Bowker was the son of a miner, born in 1909. He gained a scholarship for the local grammar school but left at 14years old, to contribute to the family purse. He resisted mining as a career and followed his dream of producing something beautiful amidst his depressing background. He was apprenticed to E. W. Brain & Co (Foley China) and developed his talents as an artist. This was followed by time spent at Salisbury Crown China. In 1948, he took the gamble of going alone and began Arthur Bowker, Staffordshire Fine Bone China. In a single room in Longton, he began producing miniature items, jugs, kettles, simple brooches and then Figurines. One of the earliest, a small crinoline lady, was named Christine, after his only daughter. He gradually expanded and moved to King Street, Fenton. A wide range of decorative china was begun. This included figurines of ladies; memorabilia (especially for the Coronation of Elizabeth 2nd); china flower posies; character figures; various animals; dogs; birds and many other designs.

Most items bore his self-explanatory mark. Figurines were signed with their identification name, usually by the painter. Very many items were exported around the world, including U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others. In 1958, the business failed, largely due to changes in purchase tax and other export regulations.

He died in 1962.


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Books for further reading about fine bone china

Mould Making
by John Colclough
UK readers click here.

Mould making used to be thought of as primarily an industrial technique. However, today, artists in many fields are finding it a useful tool in realising their creative vision. In this book, John Colclough carefully explains how to successfully make and use moulds of varying complexities, both for industrial and artistic use. This book should be a must for anyone venturing into this field.

John Colclough originally worked in industrial potteries. However, he has for many years taught at various colleges and lectured for companies such as Potclays, explaining the intricacies of mould making. He is an acknowledged expert in this field.

The Ceramics Handbook series was conceived as an introduction to various topics and techniques relating to the use of clay. The books are aimed at the student or the practised potter who is experimenting in a new area.

Toby & Character Jugs of the 20th Century and Their Makers
by David C. Fastenau, Stephen M. Mullins
UK readers click here.

This book includes a section on Arthur Bowker and has over 350 pages of valuable information, much of which has not been previously published.

It is a "must have" reference book for the passionate jug collector and antique enthusiast alike.