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It’s a bit like Marmite ... you either love it or hate it. The Troika pottery company was formed in 1963 by three men ... Leslie Illsley, Benny Sirota and Jan Thompson. They each invested £1,000 to buy the stock and goodwill of the Wells pottery in St Ives Cornwall.
Within a very short time their wares were being sold in the prestigious London stores of Heals and Liberty.
Although much known for its rough textured architectural pieces, the early work had smooth white gloss surfaces (Heals only took the white stuff, whilst Liberty took both the white and the textured).
Rather than using the traditional potting techniques of hand throwing individual pots, Troika developed much of its work from moulded designs and shapes. This may seem like mass production, but they were individually hand decorated by a group of decorators so each piece is a unique piece of art.
Troika moved its base from St Ives to Newlyn in Cornwall in 1970.
At its peak Troika was sold around the world. The beginning of the end however came when Heals made a decision to stop selling craft pottery. The recession of the late 1970s and the doubling of VAT in 1979 also took its toll, as did the flood of cheap imports early in the 1980s (this alone sent many small potteries out of business). Troika pottery was finally wound up in 1983.
Today Troika is highly collected and prices keep getting higher only occasionally taking a rest before continuing their upward trend. It is regularly seen on television programmes such as Bargain Hunt, Flog It, etc.

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