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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

CAUGHLEY CHINA - c. 1772-1799; 1799-c. 1815

HISTORY. Thomas Turner, a man of some independent means and social standing, sometime an engraver at Worcester, went to Caughley in Shropshire about 1772 and there began the making of porcelain at a pottery that had been established near twenty years earlier but had hitherto made only earthenware.

For a number of years after Turner started the porcelain factory at Caughley, blue and white ware with printed transfer decorations was the chief article of manu facture and probably no establishment ever did more to popularise blue-printed china. Two characteristic patterns emanated from Caughley that have enjoyed vast popularity and are known the world over-the "willow pattern," and the "Broseley dragon." A London warehouse called the "Salopian China Warehouse" for the sale of Caughley chinaware was established in 178o at number 5 Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Thomas Turner retired from business in 1799 and sold the works to John Rose who continued to operate them in connexion with the Coalport factory nearby until 1814 or 1815 when they were closed and dismantled.

THE BODY. The Caughley paste was a good body both whiter and more translucent than the paste of the Worcester china.

THE GLAZE. The glaze was clear, perfectly transparent and of perfectly smooth and even distribution.

ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. Tableware, tea and coffee services and all the "useful" items of chinaware were the chief products. Vases were made and a certain number of decorative items, but none of a large and elaborate character. The contours most favored were either based on Chinese models or else followed the Neo-Classic impulse dominant at the period.

TYPES OF DECORATION. Until after 1780 the decorations consisted almost altogether of blue-printed transfer patterns, chiefly in Chinese designs, "but produced in a manner that no Chinaman ever dreamed of." Nevertheless, they were very good and the patterns were sharply engraved and cleanly executed. The blue was clear and strong and as the body was whiter than the Worcester body and the glaze perfectly transparent, the Caughley blue and white china never had the same mellowness of the Worcester blue and white which closely approximated the Chinese porcelain in quality. The Caughley blue and white china was sometimes painted in underglaze blue, as well as transfer printed, although transfer printing was usual for the willow pattern. In both cases the later Caughley blue and white was often enriched with bands of gilding and appeared not unlike much of the blue and white Chinese porcelain of the period that was made for export. The willow pattern appeared about 1780 and whole dinner services were made with this design which immediately achieved wide popularity. Dinner services were also painted in underglaze blue with "Chantilly sprigs" after the manner of some of the old Chantilly china.

Turner went to France in 1780 and is said to have brought back several French china decorators. After that date there was greater variety in decoration. Small multi-colored flowers were much used, either scattered or composed in bouquets, festoons or wreaths. One type of decoration that was very characteristic of Caughley consisted altogether of blue and gold. The blue appears in bands or in flower shapes and all the delicate sprays, fine tracery and other minute details are done in gold. Besides a great variety of flower subjects, landscapes were employed and also birds with bright plumage. The later flower painting in colors quite holds its own with the work of Worcester.

THE MARKS. The earliest Caughley mark was a C, commonly printed in blue, and closely resembling the Worcester crescent.S, painted or printed in blue, was also an early Caughley mark. Later, the word "SALOPIAN" was impressed in the paste and sometimes the painted S or C marks were used along with it.

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