Terra cotta(Italian language" baked earth") has been used throughout history for sculpture and pottery, as well as bricks and roof shingles. In its unglazed form, Terracotta became fashionable as an architectural construction material in England in the 1860s.

The Watcombe Pottery was founded in 1869 after the discovery of a bed of fine clay .  The earliest Watcombe products were terracotta architectural moldings and embellishments, classical urns, vases, statues and busts.  The Torquay Terracotta Clay Company was established nearby in 1875.

In the latter years of the 19th century  more decorated and ornamental pottery became the fashion.  John Phillips, an ardent supporter of the Arts & Crafts Movement founded the Allervale Art Pottery in 1881.  This pottery commenced the production of the mottowares that were to become the  mainstay of the Torquay potteries for almost a century .

Although both Watcombe and the Torquay Terracotta Company continued to make terracotta items until the turn of the century, many of these were blanks (mostly plates, but some urns and pilgrim flasks) which people decorated for themselves.

Architectural terracotta went out of fashion from around the 1890s, giving way to glazed terracotta or faience as it is known in Britain, which does not attract grime and is easy to clean, giving way to a more colourful architecture.

These pictures of Torquay terracotta were included in Carl Fischer's presentation at the 2007 Convention.