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Tile frieze - Pottery through the Ages
  • Pottery through the Ages
    Bayes, Gilbert, born 1872 - died 1953
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Pottery through the Ages

  • Object:

    Tile frieze

  • Place of origin:

    Lambeth (made)

  • Date:

    1939 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bayes, Gilbert, born 1872 - died 1953 (designed)
    Doulton Ceramic Factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stoneware with coloured high-temperature glazes

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Royal Doulton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Stair P, case WW

Between 1939 and 1978, this impressive frieze, depicting 'Pottery Through the Ages', graced the frontage of Doulton House, which stood at the junction of Albert Embankment and Lambeth Bridge, London. This headquarters office for the well-known ceramics manufacturer was designed by the architect T.P. Bennett (1887-1980) in modernist style and faced with cream, black and gold ceramic panels. Royal Doulton commissioned Gilbert Bayes (1872-1953), President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, to design this frieze, considered his ceramic masterpiece, as well as another smaller one for the same building which illustrated the arrival of Dutch potters in London. Bayes was an esteemed, versatile and prolific sculptor of public works including figures and memorials, especially in the interwar years. He modelled the Portland stone figures of Sir William Chambers and Sir Charles Barry on the facade of the V&A and is now best-known for his 'Queen of Time' clock over the entrance of Selfridge's department store, Oxford Street, London.

The two friezes from Doulton House were salvaged by Ironbridge Gorge Museum, thanks to the initiative of Paul Atterbury, then head of Royal Doulton's historical department and now a well-known author and antiques specialist. The 'Dutch Potters' frieze remains at Ironbridge, while Royal Doulton presented the 'Pottery Through the Ages' frieze to the V&A.

Physical description

Rectangular frieze of stoneware glazed in various colours, depicting an allegorical history of pottery, divided into eight cultural epochs: Egypt, Assyria, Persia, The Orient (at the centre), Renaissance Italy, Crete, Greece, Phoenicia and Rome.

Place of Origin

Lambeth (made)


1939 (made)


Bayes, Gilbert, born 1872 - died 1953 (designed)
Doulton Ceramic Factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Stoneware with coloured high-temperature glazes


Height: 1600 mm, Width: 13630 mm

Object history note

See Ceramics and Glass Section: Object Information file for 'Gilbert Bayes and the Doulton House Frieze', a publicity handout published by Royal Doulton, 1988, and other papers.

Descriptive line

Stoneware frieze with coloured glazes, designed and modelled by Gilbert Bayes, made by Doulton & Co., Lambeth, 1939, for the front of Doulton House, Albert Embankment

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Pottery through the Ages', Royal Doulton International Collectors' Club, autumn 1987, pp.20-21
Louise Irvine & Paul Atterbury, 'Gilbert Bayes: Sculptor 1872-1953', Richard Dennis, 1998

Labels and date

The Doulton Frieze
Stoneware with polychrome glazing
Made by Doulton & Co. for its London headquarters, Doulton House, Albert Embankment, Lambeth;
designed and modelled by Gilbert Bayes (1872-1953); 1939

Given by Royal Doulton
C.61-1988 [1988]






ELISE; Ceramics

Production Type



Ceramics Collection

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