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Topic: Pottery

Chinese Ceramics – Antiquity

  Bronze Age (1500-476 BC} Chinese Bronze Age pottery was mainly grey but small quantities of white pottery were produced. This “proto-porcelain” seems to have been produced almost by chance. Kaolin (the main constituent of porcelain) was relatively common and the temperature required to smelt bronze (1100 degrees C) happens to be close to the […]  Continue Reading »

European Ceramics – Faience

From Italy, manufacture of tin-glazed painted pottery spread to France, where it was referred to as “faience” after the Italian town of Faenza from which it was imported.  Faience was made in France from the 14th century but it took the arrival of Italian migrants in the early 16th  century to stimulate production.  Factories were […]  Continue Reading »

European Ceramics – Majolica

European pottery from before the Renaissance is scarce because the belief that the Black Death could be transmitted by pottery vessels led to their mass destruction. In the 15th century, tin-glazed wares, often with a metallic lustre, based on Moorish techniques, were being produced in Spain mainly for storage jars. The early Spanish tin-glazed wares […]  Continue Reading »

European Ceramics – Quimper

Quimper in Brittany has been a centre of pottery production since the 17th century. Quimper’s first factory was established in 1695 by Jean-Baptiste Bousquet. At first the factory made blue and white faience but in 1743 the factory was taken over by Pierre Caussy who began making chinoiserie and rococo pieces in the Rouen style. […]  Continue Reading »

European Ceramics – Delft

Tin-glazed pottery also reached the Netherlands, probably through Italian migrants who settled in the Netherlands in 1508. Factories were set up in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Haarlem and The Hague but, by the early 17th century, Delft became the predominant centre.  At the beginning of the 17th century, two ships arrived in Delft laden with cargoes of […]  Continue Reading »

European Ceramics – Gouda

From about 1900, a number of factories in Gouda, Holland, began producing a unique type of ware which represented a transition between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Earlier pieces had stylised flower patterns; more realistic flowers representations appeared later. Early pieces also used a lighter coloured matt glaze. Production slowed after the mid-1930s.    Gouda […]  Continue Reading »

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 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 »

Irish Ceramics – Belleek

In 1857, John Bloomfield, a landowner in County Fermanagh in Ireland, decided to exploit deposits of felspar and kaolin on his property. He formed a partnership with Robert William Armstrong, who had worded with the Worcester porcelain factory, and David McBirney, a merchant, to build a factory in the small town of Belleek. At first […]  Continue Reading »

American Ceramics – Syracuse China

In 1871, the Onondaga Pottery Company was incorporated in Syracuse, New York and purchase the struggling Empire Crockery Manufacturing Company. The company was managed by an English potter, Lyman Clark, who hired English potters and began training local men. The company produced undecorated pottery, mainly stoneware until 1886, when fire destroyed a nearby decorating shop […]  Continue Reading »

American Ceramics – Franciscan China

In 1875, an exceptional clay deposit was discovered in Lincoln, California. The land was purchased by Charles Gladding, Peter McBean and George Chambers who formed Gladding, McBean and Company. In 1928, Dr Andrew Malinovsky developed a high talc, one fire body, using non-crystalline amorphous flux. This innovative ceramic material was patented as “Malinite”. By 1932, […]  Continue Reading »

American Ceramics – Lenox China

In 1889, a young artist-potter, named Walter Scott Lenox, founded a company dedicated to the proposition that an American firm could create the finest china in the world. He possessed a zeal for perfection that he applied to the relentless pursuit of his artistic goals. In the years that followed, Lenox china became the first […]  Continue Reading »

American Ceramics – Mikasa

Mikasa was established as a trading company in the 1930s. In the 1950s, Mikasa added ceramic dinnerware to its range. It has since become their main product. Mikasa China does not manufacture dinnerware; instead, it imports product, initially mostly from Japan, but now from some 150 factories in 20 different countries. This arrangement allows it […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Ceramics

When the first white settles arrived in Australia in 1788, one of the first things they did was send clay samples to England for analysis. Josiah Wedgwood examined the samples and declared them excellent for making pottery. (He used the clay to make the “Sydney Cove Medallion”, a neoclassical relief depicting the figure of Hope […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Ceramics – Bendigo Pottery

George Guthrie, the founder of the Bendigo pottery, began his first pottery business, Camperdown Pottery, in Sydney in 1851. His most successful product was ginger beer bottles. Following a downturn in the market, Guthrie moved to Melbourne and then to Sandhurst (later called Bendigo) on the Victorian goldfields, where a superior white clay had been […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Ceramics – Premier Pottery

The Premier Pottery was established at Preston, in Melbourne, by Walter Dee and Reg Hawkins, two potters who were out of work as a result of the Depression. At first, Premier Pottery produced functional pieces very similar to English wares. But Dee soon began experimenting with glazes and developed a technique of overlaying different coloured […]  Continue Reading »