Wemyss Ware is the brand name of the Griselda Hill Pottery a Scottish pottery situated in the village of Ceres, Fife.
Formed in 1985 the pottery produces stunningly beautiful and colourfully range of pottery based on an earlie 19th century local creation - Wemyss Ware, without question the most attractive and sought-after Scottish pottery, first produced in Fife in 1892 by immigrant Czech designer/decorator Karel Nekola and local pottery owner Robert Heron.
The pottery took its name from the Wemyss family, who lived in Wemyss Castle. Since then, the vibrant and characterful designs of Wemyss Ware, have continued to delight new generations of pottery lovers from all parts of the world.
During the Great Depression, the original Fife pottery closed in 1932, and the rights to Wemyss Ware were bought by the Bovey pottery in Devon.
Karel Nekola's son Joseph, himself an able designer, moved to Devon, where he carried on producing Wemyss Ware and training apprentices, one of whom, Esther Weeks, proved particularly gifted. Joseph taught her the brand's famous 'cabbage rose' motif and other secret painting techniques he had learnt from his father and when he passed away in 1952, Esther became Head Decorator and continued to paint Wemyss Ware until the Bovey Pottery closed down in 1957.
In the 1960's and 1970's no Wemyss Ware was produced, but the 1980's saw the rightful return of the famous brand to its Fife roots. Ms. Griselda Hill, originally trained as a printmaker, became interested in pottery while teaching art in London. After moving to Fife in 1984, she paid a visit to Kirkcaldy Museum where she was particularly struck by the collection of original Wemyss Ware on display. This sowed the idea of creating Wemyss Ware-inspired pottery which would remain faithful to the spirit of the original brand, but for pottery admirers everywhere, thankfully more affordable. Griselda's first product was a cat modelled on an original displayed in the Kirkcaldy Museum and since 1985, along with a loyal band of fellow-artists she has developed a range of Wemyss Ware revival pottery which captures the unique beauty of the originals.
In 1994, the Wemyss Ware trademark was successfully acquired by the Griseld Hill Pottery, and Joseph Nekola's protegee, Esther Weeks, now in her seventies, is a regular visitor who not only still manages to paint a few pieces for the pottery, but also most importantly, shares with the pottery's new generation of resident artists the legacy of secret techniques which Joseph passed on to her. It is these secret techniques, especially the excellent quality of the hand painting, that renders every Wemyss Ware piece uniquely beautiful, thanks to the exuberance and vitality of the colours used.