The Fife pottery owner Robert Heron employed an expert painter from Bohemia called Karel Nekola and began making Wemyss Ware in 1882. Named after the Wemyss family of Wemyss Castle, the high-quality hand-painted decoration made it a commercial success.
Commemorative ware goblet, 1897
The Royal Wemyss Commemorative Ware, produced between 1880 and 1911, included a range of coronation cups and goblets. This goblet was produced to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It is decorated with roses, thistles, and shamrocks with a crown above the Royal Cypher, which consists of the letters VRI intertwined.
‘Jazzy’ vase, about 1925
Jazzy wares were introduced in the 1920s. This earthenware vase has a wavy flared rim and is decorated with a yellow rose in full bloom on a ‘jazzy’ mottled blue, green, pink and red ground.
Preserve jar, late 19th Century
Wemyss Ware preserve jars were made in seven different shapes and sizes and were filled with jam or other preserves. This jar is decorated with cherries and the mark on the base shows it was manufactured for the London china retailer Thomas Goode and Co.
Pheasant basin, about 1900
This earthenware bowl decorated with pheasants probably formed part of a bedroom wash set. The monogram HP appears to refer to Harry Primrose, Lord Dalmeny, the fifth Earl of Roseberry, and it is likely this basin formed part of a special order for the family.
Rosy apples ewer, early 20th Century
Fruit designs were very popular on Wemyss Ware including raspberries, strawberries, oranges and lemons. This earthenware ewer is decorated with the rosy apples design.
Wemyss Ware is famous for its earthenware pigs, which are very popular and highly collectible. This white earthenware pig is decorated with green shamrocks and has a pale pink snout and ears.
Wemyss Ware started to go out of fashion in the 1920s and the Kirkcaldy pottery closed in 1932. However, Wemyss Ware continued to be made by Karel Nekola’s son Joseph, who moved to the Bovey Pottery in Devon and it is still being made today by the Griselda Hill Pottery Ltd company in Ceres, Fife, using the secret painting technique passed down from Karel Nekola.
Explore changing fashions in tableware, drinking vessels and utensils in Gallery 6: Feasting at Aberdeen Art Gallery, including Wemyss Ware. Open Wednesday-Monday, advance booking is advisable online at