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LONGTON HALL CHINA - 1752-1758

HISTORY. The china factory at Longton Hall in Staffordshire was a short-lived enterprise. It was established about 1752 by William Littler, the son of a Burslem potter, and came to an untimely end amidst financial difficulties in 1758. Littler and Aaron Wedgwood, who had entered into partnership with him, launched their business with insufficient capital and always suffered from this handicap until the end came. Their aim was to make china like that of Bow and Chelsea, but to produce it at a lower cost and sell it cheaper. During the few years of its limited production, Longton Hall china had a moderate sale in the Midlands. An auction sale in London, in 1757, failed to realise the proceeds expected. The entire stock was sold by auction in London and Birmingham, in 1758, and the factory was abandoned.

THE BODY. The Longton Hall body was a soft paste, granular in texture, full of specks and of a dingy, greyish white tinge. It has been called "the worst china ever produced in England. "

THE GLAZE. The glaze was harder than the glaze of Bow and Chelsea; it was also thinner in its distribution and less likely to crackle and craze.

ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. Tableware formed the principal output of the Longton Hall factory. Elaborate vases were never undertaken, but there were a few beakers, small vases and pomatum pots made. The figures mentioned in the sales advertisements were merely the table accompaniments of fruit baskets and similar dessert pieces. The shapes coincided with the Rococo phases, interpreted at Bow and Chelsea.

TYPES OF DECORATION. Flowers, birds, and country or pastoral scenes with a few figures were motifs much employed. A bright underglaze cobalt blue was frequently used, either as a ground color or in heavy masses. Reserved panels for bird or flower motifs were commonly enclosed with scrolled borders in raised white. In modelled ornament, acanthus leaves were especially favored. There was little gilding.

THE MARKS. Longton Hall china was seldom marked and may easily be mistaken for inferior Bow or Chelsea ware. When marked, it had two L's crossed, or a device evolved from two L's.



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