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Charles Collard's Early Years



Charles Henry Fletcher Collard was born on 1st September 1874 in Torquay, Devon, England. He started work in 1886 as an apprentice to John Phillips at the Aller Vale pottery. Some of the early examples of Aller Vale pottery are terracotta, but by the time Collard joined they were producing decorated glazed pottery. 

John Phillips (1835 to 1897). Set up and ran the Aller Vale Art Pottery from 1881 until his death in 1897.

John Phillips was a major influence on Charles Collard, both technically and philosophically. Collard's apprenticeship at Aller enabled him to learn all aspects of the potting process; skills that he put into good use in his lifelong interest in experimental methods and designs.

When Collard first joined the firm he started, as was the custom, by learning the processes. He did this so thoroughly that not only could he perform all the different pottery processes, but he understood them so that he was able to take them and adapt them, for instance by building his own kilns when he subsequently founded his own pottery. By the middle of the 1890s Collard had become one of the top, if not the top, decorator at Aller.

The Aller Vale pottery declined after the death of the owner John Phillips on 25th February 1897. The pottery was taken over, but Collard was not happy under the new regime. He left in 1902 and started work for Hart and Moist of Exeter. Collard did not stay long at Hart and Moist. After leaving, Collard returned to Torquay and joined the Longpark Pottery. He stayed here until 1905 when he left to start his own pottery in Poole, Dorset.