So at this time, what was happening with regard to the Newbottle potteries? My own investigation of the census returns shows that in 1841 there were 30 people in Newbottle working as potters of some kind, rising to 41 in 1851, then falling to 34 in 1861, and only 5 by 1871, by which time the pottery industry in Newbottle must have almost ceased. So dates of 1855, 1866 and 1868 fall within the period of pottery activity in Newbottle although the latest ones would be during the time of decline.
If they were all produced by the same person, would it be possible to guess their identity? One candidate would be Robert Beckwith who in 1851 is listed as a potter painter aged 24 and also as the son of the co-owner of the main High Pottery. In 1861 aged 34 he is stated to be an earthenware painter, and in 1871 he has become an innkeeper, presumably after the run-down of the pottery. William Wade Brodrick, the son of the other co-owner in 1851 is also a possibility as he also was listed in 1851 as an earthenware painter but by 1861 had become co-owner with his brother Edward and might have become too involved with management to actually decorate pots himself. No-one else is described in the census returns for 1851 and 1861 as an earthenware painter, which was presumably a specialised task.