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PINXTON AND TORKSEY CHINA
PINXTON, 1796-1818; TORKSEY, 1803-1808
HISTORY. John Coke, brother of the Lord of the Manor of Pinxton in east Derbyshire, had developed a keen interest in the manufacture of porcelain as it was then conducted, and consequently when he discovered a fine white earth on the estate at Pinxton he was convinced that it could be used to advantage in making porcelain.
The first reports of trial specimens were unsatist factory, but Coke, still determined, resolved to try his own hand. He secured the services of William Billingsley, a painter from Derby, built a factory at Pinxton in 1796 and set about establishing what he believed would be a prosperous business.
At first, all went well. The ware produced, while inferior in painting to the chief products of the day, was a fairly good commercial ware. It was mostly decorated with flowers rendered in a more or less realistic manner as this was the type of ornament for which Billingsley was famous. To some extent, however, ground colors were used,with reserved panels and in these panels appeared either small landscapes or flower subjects.
As time went on, Billingsley paid less and less attention to the works. He took no active part in the painting and scarcely fulfilled John Coke's idea of an efficient manager. Such a state of affairs could not continue very long and finally they parted-Billingsley to wander about the country, engage in an abortive attempt to make china at Mansfield, and then be heard of later at Torksey; John Coke to recover his declining trade as best he could.
The factory was continued under the management of a Mr. Banks and, later, under a Mr. Cutts, but it never achieved any degree of success and the entire establishment was abandoned in 1818.
The Pinxton ware is sometimes marked with a cursive P in red.Occationally the marks that appear at the end of the section are also found on china made at Pixton.
After his failure at Mansfield, Billingsley retired to Torksey in Lincolnshire and, in 1803, established a porcelain factory with the help of his daughters who assisted him with the painting. The products of this venture met with even less success than those of Pinxton and the entire business was an utter failure. The year 1808 saw Billingsley fleeing from his creditors, never to be heard of again as an independent porcelain manufacturer. His Torksey wares are almost impossible to identify as they bear no mark.