The law of copyright and protection of designs developed in a piecemeal and haphazard fashion in the UK. The first Act of Parliament dealing with copyright in industrial design was the Designing & Printing of Linen Act of 1787 and textiles were the focus for a few years. Then The Sculpture Copyright Act of 1797 introduced protection for "modelled forms", which did not have to be marble blocks chiselled into a human form, but could include be shapes modelled or produced by potters. To achieve protection under the Act you had to mark your "modelled forms" or products with "Published by" followed by your name, a brief or short address and the date of introduction. Some use was made by potters of this Act, although this seems mainly to have been for jugs or pitchers. The Act was updated in 1814 and this version stayed in force until repealed by the Copyright Act 1911.
Many are familiar with the system of Design Registration introduced in 1842 by the Design Act, with the use of distinctive diamond shape marks.
Less well known is the slightly earlier Design Act of 1839, which established the Office of the Registrar of Designs, which opened in July 1839 as part of the Board of Trade. Few potters made use of this 1839 Design Act, but of those who did John Ridgway and J&T Edwards and James Edwards occur most often.
It would appear that Ridgway was an early adopter of all means of design protection that became available.
PS I have not ignored you direct question about James Edwards and will reply when I have a moment.
Back to: Transferware Collectors Club Website