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NEW HALL CHINA - 1781-1825
When Richard Champion brought the Bristol china works to an end, he transferred his patent rights to a group of experienced potters who, in 1781, established a factory at Tunstall. Upon the withdrawal of two of their number, after some disagreement, in 1782 they removed the establishment to New Hall, at Shelton.
The members of the New Hall company seem unfortunately to have lacked the foresight to acquire either the experienced workmen or the invaluable collection of moulds of the Bristol company. Furthermore, although the New Hall organisation had been virtually established by Champion, the directors were unwilling to follow that worthy pioneer's example. Their ends were first and foremost commercial and they had little interest in maintaining the high standards and ideals of Bristol. At first they continued to make hard paste porcelain but soon made a change to a softer body and, eventually, adopted the bone standard. Content as the New Hall manufacturers were with a product, for the most part, inferior in the quality of its paste, mediocre in its ornamentation, and notable principally for its cheapness, it is not to be wondered at that New Hall china, coloured as it often was in gaudy enamels, with patterns of no particular distinction, failed to make either a wide or enduring appeal. The term of the patent ran out in 1796, and although an half-hearted attempt was made to improve the ware by the adoption of new methods in 1812, the end was stayed for only a short time and the factory was permanently closed down in 1825.
The earlier paste was milk white with a glittering glaze; the later paste was white or slightly greyish white and had a thin glassy glaze with a somewhat greenish tinge.
The Bristol "cottage china" in all likelihood inspired a good deal of the New Hall product. The decorations were simple, sometimes crudely executed, and without gilding. Not a little of the unmarked china made at New Hall seems to have been attributed to Lowestoft, especially the sort embellished with sprays, sprigs or wreaths of small flowers and minute roses, joined together with little ribbons or lines of dots. In the better pieces produced, where the small flower wreaths or baskets of flowers were reasonably well executed (Plate 103, A and B), the confusion with Lowestoft can be readily understood. The basket device appearing on the teapot is rather characteristic of New Hall. Moulded ornament was occasionally used and landscape subjects were now and again employed. Classic figures, too, may be found but are rare. The colours are often thick and heavy; again they are noticeably thin. In not a few instances the outlines of the design were transfer printed and the colours were afterwards applied with a brush. For the china decorated with small flowers, in what is usually considered the "Lowestoft" manner, diaper patterns in deep pink or puce were often employed for borders. There were likewise adaptations of various sorts from the Chinese famille rose porcelain, and Japanese "Imari" patterns, too, were produced, the details of the design being commonly larger than those of the Derby "Imari."
When the New Hall china was marked, the earliest mark was the letter N incised in the paste; the later mark was the name New Hall in italics in a double circle, transfer printed on the glaze.