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English pottery and porcelain

English Pottery

Until the 16th century, British potters produced only simple, practical earthenware vessels. In the middle of that century, three potters from Antwerp, in Flanders, set up a factory in London to produce tin-glazed earthenware. Their wares became known as “delftware”. Despite the name, English delftware was not only influenced by the Dutch., but also by […]  Continue Reading »

English Porcelain

Porcelain was produced in England from the late 1740s, first at Chelsea and soon afterwards at Derby, Bow.and elsewhere. The early products included figures (particularly from Bow and Derby) and dinnerware (from Bow). The Chelsea factory was established by Nicholas Sprimont, a silversmith, and initially produced pieces strongly influenced by silverware designs. During the 1850s, […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Staffordshire

Before 1775, English law allowed white clay to be used only for porcelain. When this restriction was removed, potters began to use the white clay found in Staffordshire to produce a variety of salt-glazed domestic wares and figurines. These potters included Thomas Whieldon, who had been a partner of Josiah Wedgwood, and Wheildon’s assistant Ralph […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Wedgewood

In the 1750s, Thomas Whieldon rediscovered the technique of decorating with coloured lead glazes, initially limited to green, grey, brown and slate blue. In 1754, Josiah Wedgwood joined Whieldon as a partner and, in 1758, established his own business. Wedgwood developed a lightweight, lead-glazed, cream coloured earthenware that he called “creamware”. This was widely copied […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – William Adams

William Adams & Sons was established in 1769. It is among the oldest names in the Staffordshire pottery industry. William Adams was the son of John Adams who had opened a pottery business in Staffordshire which became known as the Brick House Works. John Adams company primarily focused on reproducing designs that were being imported […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Johnson Brothers

  In 1883 at a small factory called the Charles Street Works in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Frederick and Alfred, established a partnership called Johnson Brothers for the manufacture of durable earthenware, which they called “White Granite”. In 1888, another brother, Henry, joined the firm. They began producing underglaze printed ware for which they became famous. By […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Carlton Ware

In 1890, James Wiltshaw, James Robinson and William Robinson formed a partnership to purchase the Copeland Street Works in Stoke-on-Trent. The factory was well equipped but had been occupied by a series of unsuccessful partnership. Wiltshaw & Robinson began manufacturing a range of useful earthenware items including blue ground wares similar to Royal Worcester, plain […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Shelley China

In 1862, Joseph Ball Shelley became a partner in the firm of Henry Wileman at the Foley China Works in Fenton, Staffordshire. From about 1910, the company began to use the name “Shelley China” on some of its wares and in 1925 it changed its name to Shelley. Shelley China produced a wide range of […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Spode

Josiah Spode established a potworks in Stoke-on-Trent, in 1767. His early products were earthenwares and a range of stonewares including black basalt and jasper, which had been popularised by Josiah Wedgwood. Josiah Spode developed underglaze blue transfer printing on earthenware in 1783–84. In about 1789, his son, also called Josiah, perfected the technique of producing […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Coalport

In 1750, Squire Brown began producing ceramics from clay and coal which was found on his estate, Caughley Hall, in Shropshire. On his death, he was succeeded by his nephew who, in 1772, joined by Thomas Turner, an eminent engraver and the originator of the Willow Pattern. In 1799, the firm was sold to John […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Royal Worcester

A porcelain factory was established at Worcester in 1751 by Dr John Wall. It produced a soft-paste, soapstone porcelain. Its wares, which were more delicately potted than its English rivals, proved immensely popular. The factory excelled at tea and coffee set, jugs, vases and the like. (The soapstone paste was not suitable for large dishes.) […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Royal Doulton

Royal Doulton dates back to 1815 when John Doulton became involved in a pottery in Lambeth, London. John’s son Henry joined the firm in 1835 and the business expanded rapidly producing chemical and industrial ceramics. The success of their sanitary ware business enabled Henry Doulton to attempt more artistic interests. In 1867 he employed George […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Crown Devon

In the early 1870s, Simon Fielding purchased the Railway Works in Stoke-on-Trent but the business failed and was rescued by Simon’s son, Abraham. S Fielding and Co became a successful producer of majolica wares. From the 1880s, they began calling their wares “Crown Devon” and in 1912, they changed their name to Devon Pottery. From […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Denby

The Denby Pottery Company, named after the village of Denby in rural Derbyshire, was formed in 1809. Denby’s first products were salt-glazed stoneware bottles and jars. By the 1870s, Denby was producing a wide range of utilitarian stoneware products including telegraph insulators, ink bottles, foot warmers, churns, mortars and pestles, pudding-moulds and water filters, as well […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Maling

The Maling pottery was founded by Robert Maling near Sunderland, in north-east England, in 1762 and transferred to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1817. Robert Maling’s son, Christopher, made the business famous when he developed machinery for manufacturing jam jars. Maling became the world’s largest supplier of jam jars and built the huge Ford ‘B’ Pottery, […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Pilkington’s Lancastrian

  In 1888, four Pilkington brothers, who were colliery owners, encountered excessive quantities of clay while drilling for coal. They were advised by William Burton, a chemist at Wedgwood, that the clay would be suitable for manufacturing decorative tiles. The Pilkiington brothers began making tiles and William Burton joined the company in 1893. William Burton […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Pratt Ware

Pratt Ware is relief decorated, underglaze coloured creamware. It was a mid-priced product made by numerous factories in Staffordshire, Liverpool, Shropshire, Sunderland, Newcastle, Devonshire and in Scotland between about 1780 and 1830. The designs on Pratt Ware items range from sporting and country scenes to nursery rhymes, “morality” portraits of misers and spendthrifts, classical subjects […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Torquay Pottery

The first Torquay pottery, the Watcombe Pottery, was opened in 1869 to make terracotta wares, such as vases, urns and statues, in classical forms. Watcombe Pottery’s example was followed by the Torquay Terracotta Company which made similar wares. The Aller Vale Pottery also began in a similar style but, from the 1890s, was strongly influenced […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Cornish Ware

In 1864, Thomas Goodwin Green, an entrepreneur who had made a fortune in Australia, purchased a Derbyshire pottery and renamed it T G Green and Company. The company flourished to become one of Britain’s largest producers of domestic pottery, hospital and institution wares. In 1926, T G Green introduced an range of blue banded kitchen […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Mochaware

Mochaware is a type of utilitarian pottery decorated with coloured slip bands on a white and buff-colored body. It has branching markings resembling the natural geological markings on moss agate, which was called “mocha stone” because it was imported from the port of Mocha in Yemen. (Mocha coffee came from the same port.) Mocha decoration […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Chintz Wares

At the beginning of the 20th century, all-over floral “chintz” fabrics imported from India became very fashionable. These designs were used to decorate ceramics which also came to be called “chintz”. Early chintz patterns usually had large flowers and exotic birds with rich plumage. By the 1920ss, chintz patters were generally much tighter. Lithography had […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – The Willow Pattern

The Willow Pattern Story There was once a Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. He employed a secretary, Chang who, while he was attending to his master’s accounts, fell in love with Koong-se, much to the anger of the Mandarin, who regarded the secretary as unworthy of his daughter. The secretary was banished and […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Toby & Character Jugs

The exact origins of the toby jug are obscure. They first appeared in the 1760s and were most likely named after “Toby Fillpot”, a nickname for someone who was always drinking. The first toby jugs depicted a seated character in a frock coat and three-corned hat nursing a jug of beer on his left knee. […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – William Moorcroft

William Moorcroft began working with the Burslem potter, James MacIntyre, in 1897. In 1903, Moorcroft developed a style known as Florian ware. In this, increasingly fine outlines in slip (liquid clay) are applied to a white clay body. The piece is then fired, glazed and fired again. The result is that the colours and glaze […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Clarice Cliff

Clarice Cliff was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire in 1899. At 13, she became apprenticed to Lingard Webster and Company where she leant to paint on pottery. In 1916, she joined A.J. Wilkinson as a lithographer. Wilkinson’s were already using the vibrant orange and blue colours with which Clarice Cliff came to be associated. In 1927, […]  Continue Reading »

English Ceramics – Susie Cooper

Susie Cooper was born in 1902 in Staffordshire and joined A.E Gray and Company as a production line paintress in 1922. Her talent was quickly recognised and in 1924 she became the resident designer. Her work was characterised by daring use of bright colours and geometric banded patterns. In October 1929, she set up her […]  Continue Reading »