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English Porcelain And Pottery (Part 3 Of 3)

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Caughley

A manufactory was built at Caughley (pronounced 'Coffley') near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, by Thomas Turner in 1772, and porcelain was made there soon after that date. It was called at the time, and still is, Salopian ware, and is very similar in appearance to Worcester, which it copied. Much of it was printed in underglaze blue and sometimes shows a yellow or brownish tone if held up to the light, whereas Worcester is more often inclined to appear a pale green. Turner is credited with producing the original version of the favoured 'willow-pattern', which was copied on both pottery and porcelain by innumerable other makers, and remains popular today.

The factory was bought by John Rose of Coalport in 1799, and eventually the two were merged and the Caughley works closed.

New Hall

In 1781 a group of Staffordshire potters bought the Plymouth hard-paste patent from Champion of Bristol, and opened a factory at Longport, Staffordshire, which they called New Hall. They made simple tablewares with cottage-type simple decoration and are said to have made more ambitious painted pieces as well. Many of the productions are marked under the base with `N' or `N' in red and a pattern number. The factory closed in 1835.

Davenport

A factory at Longport in Staffordshire was operated by successive members of the Davenport family from 1793 until 1882, and during much of the time porcelain was made. The ware is not especially distinguished and varies in quality, but some good porcelain-painters worked there at times. Two of them, James Holland and Joshua Cristall became well-known water-colour artists. Much Davenport china is unmarked, but some pieces bear the name of the factory with or without an anchor, and sometimes with the word `Longport' added. The mark was at first impressed, but later was printed.

Minton

Thomas Minton, an engraver of designs for printing on china, started a factory in 1793 and the firm continues today. He made good bone china, but it is on the productions of his descendants that the fame of the firm rests; they concentrated on making close copies of old Sevres, which were bought by those who could not afford the extremely high prices realized by the latter in the mid-nineteenth century and later. In 1870, a Frenchman, Marc-Louis Solon, introduced a technique of decorating china by painting and modelling with white slip on a dark background, known as pate-sur-pate: `clay on clay'. Solon is equally remembered for forming a large collection of English pottery and porcelain and for writing a number of early books on the subject.

Pinxton

A small factory was started at Pinxton, Derbyshire, by William Billingsley, who was later at Nantgarw. Billingsley was at Pinxton from 1796 to 1801, and made a particularly fine glassy soft-paste porcelain which was well decorated. After he left, the quality of the ware declined, and the factory closed in 1813.

Coalport

This Shropshire factory, known first as Coalbrookdale, was started by John Rose in 1796, and three years later merged with the nearby Caughley works. Some of its best-known productions are heavily encrusted with flowers in relief; inkstands, vases, dishes and even teapots were decorated in this manner. The Coalport factory made china of good quality throughout the nineteenth century, and some of its imitations of early Sevres were good enough to deceive experts for many years. Copies of Chelsea, including the famous goat-and-bee jug, are slightly less dangerous but sometimes catch people off their guard.

After many vicissitudes the factory was removed to Staffordshire. Modern pieces bear a mark incorporating the date 1750, which leads many owners into thinking that they were made in that year.

Spode

Josiah Spode carried on a pottery started by his father of the same name, and in or about 1800 began to make porcelain. Josiah Spode II is credited with the introduction and popularization of bone china, which shortly became the standard ware for most English factories. Spode's porcelain was of excellent quality, but heavily decorated and gilt; much use was made of a dark underglaze blue, an effective background for elaborate tracery in gold.

The business eventually came into the ownership of the partner of Josiah Spode III, William Taylor Copeland, later became Copeland and Garrett, and is continued today as Copeland's by direct descendants. The firm is said to have been the first to introduce the off-white smooth biscuit ware known as Parian, from its resemblance to the marble of Paros, an island in the Aegean Sea, used by the ancient Greeks. The Parian china was used to make statuettes after the work of contemporary sculptors, and was extremely popular. Examples were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and manufacture continued for many years after that date. Many pieces bear the word `SPODE', painted, printed or impressed.

Wedgwood

The Wedgwood factory at Etruria made porcelain for a few years from 1812. It was decorated in colours, and has the name of the firm printed on the base in red, blue or gold.

Nantgarw and Swansea

A factory at Nantgarw, near Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, was started in 1813 by William Billingsley, potter and chinapainter. A porcelain of remarkable whiteness and translucence was made, but it was difficult to manipulate and failures in firing made it costly to produce. Within a year it was transferred to Swansea where attempts were made to improve the ware, making it easier to fire while preserving its appearance. A return was made shortly to Nangarw, but after a few years Billingsley went to work at Coalport and probably only decorating was done at Nantgarw. In 1822, Rose bought up the moulds and stock, and took them to his Coalport factory.

The principal output was in the form of tablewares, but vases were made also. Much of the ware was sold undecorated, and then painted in London. It is sought eagerly today, and is very expensive. The mark is the name of the factory impressed, with the letters `c.w.' below.

Rockingham

A factory at Swinton, Yorkshire, on the estate of the Marquis of Rockingham, is known by the name of that nobleman who became its patron. Porcelain was made there from about 1820 and lavishly decorated vases and tablewares bear the factory mark: a griffin from the Rockingham crest. Extravagant decoration on good-quality porcelain gained the firm royal patronage and the title `Manufacturer to the King' in 1830. Plain and attractively-modelled biscuit figures and groups were made, as well as pastille-burners in the form of cottages and castles, and small figures of poodles. The factory closed in 1842.