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LIVERPOOL CHINA - 1800-1841

HISTORY. Although Liverpool was at one time an important centre of the ceramic industry, the quantity and quality of porcelain made there during the eighteenth century seems very problematical, despite the contention that four potters were engaged in making china, to wit, Richhard Chaffers, Seth Pennington, Philip Christian and Reid & Company. It seems scarcely likely that there would be so few traces remaining had real china ever been manufactured at Liverpool in the eighteenth century any appreciable quantity. Dillon suggests that some eighteenth century soft paste porcelain that may have been made at Liverpool has been classified as Worcester or Salopian.

Further difficulties arise when one considers the readiness displayed by eighteenth century manufacturers label as porcelain articles whose composition is nearly identical with that of pottery. Much of the Delft ware made at Liverpool went by the name of porcelain, whereas its only actual resemblance to porcelain was its white color.

Nevertheless, there are in the Liverpool Museum specimens, purporting to be of Liverpool manufacture,that shew a good quality of paste and glaze as well as creditable decoration. There are examples of transfer printing, chiefly in black and brown, but also in green, deep purple, rose and red. Likewise there are Chinese designs, landscapes, rustic scenes, butterflies, red grounds, also patterns in underglaze blue. Instances of batprinting, too, occur.

Perhaps the most interesting figure connected with the Liverpool ventures at china making was Richard Chaffers. Through the advice of Podmore, of the Worcester factory, Chaffers made an expedition into Cornwall in search of soapstone. The search was ultimately successful and Chaffers returned to Liverpool assured that he would be able to obtain all the soapstone necessary. The ware subsequently manufactured and sold by Chaffers & Co., as advertised in the Liverpool Advertiser in December, 1756, undoubtedly contained soapstone, but it seems not to have been a true porcelain.

At a more recent date (1800-1841) the Herculaneum works on the banks of the Mersey manufactured genuine porcelain. There is no difficulty in identifying its wares as they are plainly marked with the full name of the place, occasionally accompanied by the crest of the Liverpool Borough. There was no improvement in quality or decoration, to distinguish the Herculaneum china from the products of other factories and while the decorations were pleasing, they were obviously adapted from types then in vogue at Davenport and elsewhere.



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