Records of the Oxshott Pottery

Scope and Content

The archive comprises

  • Correspondence
  • Notebooks and sketchbooks
  • Drawings and paintings
  • Publicity material relating to the work of the Oxshott Pottery
  • Personal and family photographs
  • Photographs relating to the work of the Oxshott Pottery and others
  • Newspaper cuttings and articles
  • Books

Administrative / Biographical History

Denise Wren was born Dorothy Tuckfield in Albany, Western Australia, leaving with her family for England in 1899. She studied at Kingston-upon-Thames, near to her family base in East Molesey, under the designer Archibold Knox from 1907-1912; and in 1911 she learnt how to throw pots by watching Mr Mercer, flower-pot maker from Norbiton Potteries.

Following Knox's resignation she helped set up the Knox Guild of Design and Craft and in 1915 married fellow potter Henry Wren, with whom she later organised the annual Artist-Craftsman Exhibition at the Central Hall, Westminster from 1923-1938. She exhibited at the Knox Guild from 1914, showing Celtic pots inspired by Knox's designs. In 1920 the Wrens bought a plot in Potters Croft, Oxshott, Surrey and Denise attended pottery evening classes at Camberwell School of Art under Henry Hopkins. Later that year she and Henry built a house and set up the Oxshott Pottery installing a gas fired kiln and from 1920-1939 Denise Wren's main production was hand-built and thrown earthenware decorated with slips and glazes for flowers. She also kept animals and wrote pottery manuals. Throughout the 1920s and through until the 1950s two-week summer courses were taught at Oxshott and from 1924-26 and she also taught evening classes at Teddington School of Art. Denise began to design textiles in 1937, ceased potting during the war and in 1945 was entered in the National Register of Industrial Art Designers as a textile designer. After Henry's death in 1947 their daughter Rosemary took over his workshop. Denise died in Devon in 1979.

The daughter of Denise and Henry Wren, Rosemary was born at Oxshott, Surrey in 1922. She worked in the Women's Land Army between 1941-1945 with animals. From 1945-1947 she studied ceramics and sculpture at the Guildford School of Art under Helen Pincombe, going onto the Royal College of Art from 1947-1950. After her father Henry's death in 1947 Rosemary took over his workshop, working with her mother full-time from 1950. In the 1950s she began saltglazing until 1968 when the lack of availability of suitable coke led to an abandonment of salt-glazing. From 1969-1975 she specialised in saltglaze. She started making handbuilt ceramic animals and birds in 1954. Rosemary was a founder member of the Craftsmen Potters Association, based in London, set up in 1956. In 1970 she formed a partnership with Peter Crotty. In 1979, after her mother's death, the pottery moved to Hittisleigh in Devon then again in 1983 to Lustleigh, Devon. In 1989 Rosemary moved to Strathpeffer in Scotland.


The archive material is arranged in the order in which it was displayed during an exhibition called The Oxshott Pottery held at the Crafts Study Centre, Bath in 1984.

Access Information

Archive material may be viewed by appointment only.


This entry was compiled by Becky Lyle, Submissions Officer for the project and by Jean Vacher, Collections Manager at the Crafts Study Centre, c.2004. The biographies were written by Frances Lord.

Other Finding Aids

There are no finding aids available for this archive.

Conditions Governing Use

Written permission must be sought before any archival material is published.

Appraisal Information

None timetabled.


None expected.


Watson, Oliver, Studio Pottery , Phaidon, 1993

Oxshott Handmade Pottery , London, 1924