Mauchline Ware - named after the Ayrshire village which was the main centre of production for these small, useful, transfer-decorated wooden items - was popular from about 1850 to 1920. The items were sold as souvenirs and were made by several companies, the most successful of which was that of William & Andrew Smith, who were granted a Royal Warrant by William IV in 1832, and a gold medal for the items they exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition.
In 1862 two brothers, Andrew and Robert Robb, who had a grocery and book shop in Coldstream, bought stock from Smiths and began selling these souvenirs. In around 1864 the Robb brothers began producing and selling Flodden Field Wood Work and, by Christmas 1866, they had an exclusive stock of over 60 items.
The Flodden Field Wood Work depicts a number of local buildings and monuments including Ford Castle, the village school (now the Lady Waterford Hall) and the Waterford Memorial Fountain. It is believed that Louisa Waterford must have given permission for the use of the wood, as the battlefield was part of the Ford Estate. The souvenirs owe as much to the enthusiasm of Lady Waterford as to the Robbs’ enterprise.
Lady Joicey, Trustee at the Lady Waterford Hall, said “We are absolutely delighted to be able to add this collection of Mauchline Ware to the other exhibits at the Lady Waterford Hall. It is very relevant to the story of Louisa Waterford which is told in the Hall, and adds another element of interest for our visitors. We are extremely grateful to Jane Bowen for her generosity.”
The exhibition can be seen in the Lady Waterford Hall in Ford, which is open daily until the beginning of November. More details about Mauchline Ware can be found at the website of the Mauchline Ware Collectors Club. This is a small but thriving international club, which three times a year publishes a free-to-members journal containing the latest research and highlighting interesting pieces.