Burgess & Leigh are best known for their ornate character handle jugs, originally termed ‘flower’ jugs. Handle designs include kingfisher, flamingo, pheasant, dragon, parrot and squirrel. Some shapes are rarer than others, for example the kingfisher will command about £150 at the moment, with the pheasant perhaps five or six hundred. Some of the scarcer shapes have been known to sell for well over £1000 - look out for the rare Burleigh guardsman jug!
Charles Wilkes designed some of the early examples and due to their immense popularity a number of other designs were produced such as ‘Village Blacksmith’ and ‘Butterfly’, with a sporting selection including ‘Tennis Player’, ‘Cricketer’ and ‘Golfer’. Burgess & Leigh’s most notable designer however was Charlotte Rhead, who joined the company in 1926 introducing tube-lining as a new technique to the pottery (see the article about Charlotte Rhead for further information). Charlotte Rhead predominantly worked on Art Deco styled pieces featuring stylised landscapes, fruit and flora.
Burgess and Leigh’s roots lay in the pottery of Hulme & Booth. The company then moved to Middleport, Burslem, England in 1889. The Leigh family gained complete control in 1912 after the death of R.S. Burgess, and the company in still in production today.