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Cottage blue

Cottage Blue was the first of Denby Bourne’s classic table ware ranges, and is characterized by a lustrous midnight-blue speckled glaze, with a matt ochre-yellow glaze applied to the inside of many of its items in this range. We keep in stock a good selection of this vintage china.

When was the pottery made?

Production of pottery started at Denby in Derbyshire in 1809 by William Bourne, and soon gained international reputation with its quality salt-glazed bottles and jars used for pickles and polish to preserves and ginger beer. A vast array of utilitarian stoneware products were also put into production, from telegraph insulators, foot warmers, churns, ink bottles, spirit barrels, water filters, apothecary and snuff jars, to liquor bottles, mortars and pestles, feeding bottles, pork pie and pudding moulds. It was not until the late 1800s, that glass bottles became less expensive and replaced these ceramic containers.

Denby Pottery then diversified, extending its kitchenware range and developing the richly coloured glazes which became Denby's trademark. By the 1920's Denby's functional kitchenware, such as its pie dishes and jelly moulds, could be found in many homes. However it was their stoneware china ranges of Manor Green, Cottage Blue, and Homestead Brown that were their biggest success - born in the 1930s, and remaining in production for fifty years. Over this period the ranges evolved and were added to, especially after the Second World War, which saw the new trend of oven-to-tableware, including the addition of cups, saucers and plates.


Our vintage china is genuinely old, and is not in production today. As a consequence it will have been previously owned and used, and so will not appear as if brand new. However all the pieces we buy and sell in our on-line shop are in very good condition, without cracks, chips or excessive wear.

 Wear & Flaws

The china may include some of the following:

  • Minor flaws consistent with the date of manufacture, such as pitting and defects in the glaze
  • Light surface scratching or light wear to the glaze, only noticeable on close inspection – for example, knife scratches on plates
  • Fine crazing and feathering of the glaze
  • Some discoloration to unglazed rims and the undersides of bake ware
  • Slight dulling of the glaze to the inside of the bake ware

Variations in manufacture

Item sizes, back stamps and colours may have minor variations that occurred during their original manufacture - differences that occurred between production batches. Shapes and colour hues altered over the years too. For example, Woods Ware Beryl comes in a variety of apple green hues to a deeper blue-green colour, most often occurring on its cups; Wood’s Ware Jasmine comes in variety shades from custard yellow to pale primrose; and Wood’s Ware Iris varies even more greatly in its blue hues, so please check your originals, if matching with a set you already own.  If you are ordering several items of the same range and wish that everything is of similar colour, then please let us know. For items that comprise a lid and a base it is preferable to buy the complete item to ensure a good fit between the two. If replacement lids and bases are purchased separately, we cannot guarantee an accurate fit.

Do call us

If you would prefer to call us to get a completely detailed description of the item you are buying or to give us exacting measurements, rather than order on line, then please do, and we will be delighted to talk to you and, if you would prefer, can also take your payment over the phone.


We cannot guarantee vintage china for its original intended use. Some of our china was originally made for oven use, however we would not recommend that you use it to bake or roast in, and suggest that these items should now either be used as serving dishes, or for slow-braising at lower oven temperatures.


We cannot refund vintage items if they have been used or are not returned in the exactly the same condition they were received in. Please see our Terms & Conditions

Rare pieces

Some of the early Cottage Blue tableware is characterised by a deeper ochre interior and has a higher value. The classic straight-sided water jugs and pitchers are becoming increasingly difficult to find, and were part of Denby’s earlier Cottage Blue range of the 1930s, and so prices of these tend to be higher than other jugs.

Out of Stock

We apologise if we are out of stock of a piece you are after, but keeping a full range of good condition vintage china in stock is nigh impossible, especially the rarer items; however we will do our best to source the item for you, if you contact us and leave us your details and requirements.


The measurements given are to within 0.5 cm / ¼” of a dimension. If you need a more exacting measurement in millimeters of the actual item that we will be sending you, then please do contact us first before ordering.

The diameter is the measure taken from the widest part of the circumference of a circular-shaped item, all handles, flanges and spouts excluded.

The width is the measurement taken across the length of a rectangular or square item, at the widest point.

The length is taken from a rectangular or oval item’s longest dimension, any handles excluded.

The height is the measure taken from the foot of the item to the very top, including the lid (if the piece has one).