The Martin Brothers were Pottery manufacturers in London who are considered to represent the transition from decorative Victorian ceramics to twentieth century studio pottery in England. In their own day their Martineware was described as Art pottery.
The four brothers (Wallace, Walter, Charles and Edwin) produced from the 1870s through to the First World War, with a little work being produced through to 1923 when their pottery closed. The Martinware pottery (1873-1923) is a good example of a Victorian art pottery, the output included both illustrative and sculptural work. They are best known for their grotesque bird sculptures and bowls, vessels decorated with sea creatures, and tiles, fashioned in whimsical but highly skilful style.
The pottery started in Fulham in 1873 by Robert Wallace Martin (1843-1923), who had trained as a sculptor. In 1977 the business was moved to Havelock Road, Southall, Middlesex, where it remained (and several of the brothers are now buried in the cemetery on this road).
Walter Martin (1857-1912) became the firm's specialist on the wheel, Edwin Martin's (1860-1915) work included most of the fish and flower designs, And Charles Martin ran the shop. They worked mainly with a saltglaze on stoneware, a high- temperature firing method where salt was thrown into the kiln, in order to fuse with the clay and give a surface which could be glassy or matt depending on the conditions in the kiln on each firing. Whereas many stoneware glazes obscure the clay itself, the saltglaze method served to highlight the impressed and incised decoration on the surface of their pots. The colours included browns, greens, greys and blues, and this subdued palette is distinctive of the Martin Brothers Martineware.