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Pottery & Porcelain (B) - Encyclopedia Of Antiques

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BARBOTINE WARE: Biscuit, decorated with a kaolin clay thinly mixed and molded separately and attached to the surface of vases, etc.

BASALT WARE: A solid black stoneware of great hardness, unglazed, which takes its name from a black Egyptian rock. It was one of the earliest products of the English potter's art, although Wedgwood's basalt is regarded as superior to others. He made his from native clay, ground ironstone, ocher and oxide of manganese. Black basalt has not been reproduced to any extent by modern potters and when a piece of this ware is found it is quite likely to be an antique. Wedgwood made a number of fine busts in this ware.

BASSANO PORCELAIN: At this Italian factory established in 1728, a soft-paste porcelain was made, decorated in deep blue in the Oriental manner, similar to that of Doccia and Venice.

BAT: A slab of coarse clay used for the building up of the ware in the kiln or oven during firing.

BAT PRINTING: This method of printing on glazed pottery was in use towards the close of the 18th century. The design was first engraved on a copper plate and then given a coat of linseed oil, which was rubbed off, leaving the oil only in the lines of the design. Instead of paper, "bats" of gelatin or glue were used to take the impression from the plate to place it upon the surface of the ware. It was then dusted with the color desired in such a manner that no superfluous color remained and the pottery was then placed in the kiln. It is a more difficult process than printing with paper but many of the larger potteries still make use of this method. Much of the early 19th-century work was decorated by this process. Because it is on the surface of the glaze, it is easily distinguished from other methods.

BATTERSEA ENAMELS: The origin of these was the factory of Stephen Janssen, established at Battersea near London about 1750 and lasting only six years. He did much to popularize enamel work and to bring it within reach of the average purse. Almost all of the output was in small pieces, and the designs were painted by hand in colors or by the transfer-print process. Later, imitations were produced at Bilston (q.v. ) in Staffordshire, and at other places. See ENAMEL.

BEAVER FALLS ART TILE CO.: Factory at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, was organized in 1886 and at first made plain enamel, embossed and intaglio tiles. These works have always employed the best designers that could be obtained. They made a specialty of artistic tile designs suitable for solid wall decorations of libraries, dining rooms and bath rooms.

BELLARMINE JUGS: Also called Greybeard Jugs. The name is derived from Cardinal Bellarmine, 16th century, whose writings were obnoxious to the "Reformed Church." The jugs are a species of stoneware, of a mottled red-brown color, salt-glazed, and they were made in pint, quart, two-quart and one-gallon sizes, both in Germany where they originated and in England.

BELLEEK PORCELAIN: This Irish china is thin and light of body, highly translucent, and has a cream-like surface in ivory tone. It is noted for its lustre, resembling the iridescent surface inside a mother-of-pearl shell. The designs are mostly of a marine character. The factory was founded in 1857, near the borders of Donegal in Ireland, and much of the product was sent to America. Belleek china of excellent quality is now made in this country.

BENNETT (EDWIN) POTTERY CO.: Established in 1846 at Baltimore, Maryland, by Edwin Bennett, an English potter who came to this country in 1841 to work for his brother James at Liverpool, Ohio. The products at Baltimore were Rockingham and yellow ware, sage and blue hard-body wares. The manufacture of white ware began in 1869, and shortly after a decorating department was added. The so-called "Rebekah" teapot was one of their best known products. In 1890 the business was incorporated under the name above, and at the same time they began making porcelain of good quality.

BENNINGTON (Vermont) POTTERY: A pottery was first started there in 1793 by John and William Norton for making earthenware and in 1800 they began to make salt-glazed and leadglazed stoneware. This was known as the Norton Stoneware Co. and it continued more or less active for many years. John Norton retired in 1823 and the business was continued by his sons Luman and John, Jr., and in the succeeding years until 1894 one or more of the descendants of John Norton were active in the business.

In 1846 Julius Norton, a grandson, formed a partnership with Fenton and Hall. In 1848, this was dissolved and a new firm of Lyman and Fenton took its place. In 1849 the name was changed to The United States Pottery Co., and a new factory was erected and conducted as a separate enterprise from the Norton Stoneware Co. The variety of the wares turned out was formidable. Rockingham, yellow and white wares continued to be made and some creditable work in Parian ware was turned out. hT e itchers alone offer pa wide field for the collector. The range of coloring include olive; green, brown, yellow and various shadings and mixtures. Bennington figures were carefully modeled and the glaze was uniform and evenly applied with a rich velvety sheen. A small amount of porcelain was also made. Daniel Greatbach, a noted English potter, joined the company in 1852 and modeled some of their best pieces.

The business ability and energy of Christopher Webber Fenton were largely responsible for the success of the company, but to Decius W. Clark, a potter from New York State, more than to Fenton or to anybody else the notable advancement of American pottery at Bennington was due. Fine Bennington ware is now nearly as rare and as valuable as Lowestoft. The factory closed in 1858.

BERLIN PORCELAIN: This German factory was established in 1752 by Frederick the Great. The models and molds were taken from Dresden as a consequence of war with Saxony and the early production was a porcelain of hard paste with decoration of a classical type and rivaling Meissen (Dresden, q.v.). The most attractive examples are the finely painted service pieces decorated with German garden and landscape scenery. The later work is coarse in modeling and not refined or delicate in color.

BILSTON ENAMELS: Made at Bilston in Staffordshire by Thomas Perry, Mary Bickley and Isaac Becket. It is the Bickley and Becket enamels among Bilston types that are most liable to confusion with Battersea productions. In general Bilston colors are less refined than those of Battersea.

BISCUIT: The term applied to earthenware and porcelain when it has been fired once. It is after the biscuit stage that decorations in color are applied and the specimen goes to the oven a second time.

BLUE: In the Orient blue had a religious and mythological as well as a historical significance, but to the Occident potter it was used for its durability and cheapness in imitation of Oriental china and Dutch delft. William Littler of Longton is credited with being the first potter in England to use oxide of cobalt as a ground for salt-glazed ware. Cobalt blue, alone, of all the colors known to the 18th century could withstand, without alteration, the high temperatures needed for the running of most glazes. Chemistry of the 19th century has made other colors of the same durability. See MAZARINE BLUE

BODY: The body of a piece of earthenware is the clay of which it is composed.

BOLOGNA: Italy. A factory of majolica was established in 1849 and it is principally known for its fine reproductions of the old ware, Luca della Robbia and Urbino.

BONE CHINA: Since about 1800, the manufacture of porcelain has been altered by the mixture of bone ash with kaolin and feldspar and the product has been called "bone" china by some writers. This product holds a middle ground between softpaste and hard-paste porcelains. It is more white than the soft-paste and harder but it is not so white generally as the hard-paste nor quite as hard.

BOOTE (T.& R.): This firm took over the Waterloo Potteries at Burslem in 1850 and in the ensuing years produced Parian ware of great excellence, also encaustic tiles and earthenware.

BORDEAUX: France. A hard-paste porcelain of fine quality and faience have been produced at the factory here established about 1784.

BOSTON EARTHENWARE MANUFACTURING Co.: A small pottery operated by Frederick Mear (1822-1876) from Burslem, England, was making brown-mottled yellow ware at East Boston, Massachusetts, in 1853-4.

BOW PORCELAIN WORKS: At Stratford-le-Bow, East London, was founded a factory in 1744, at first called New Canton, where the first softpaste porcelain in England was made from a white clay (kaolin) brought from North Carolina. No specimens of this earliest Bow china can be positively identified. Many pieces of china classed as Chelsea belong to Bow. The paste of Bow is of different kinds, that of which the groups and figures are generally composed being of a soft artificial porcelain similar to Chelsea, but coarser, heavier and more vitreous in appearance. A much harder paste was also made, sometimes white and sometimes having a blue-grey tint, with a thick greenish glaze. The factory output largely consisted of tableware. A very large part of the Bow production was unmarked. Of the marked pieces, the anchor and dagger in red are characteristic. The productions from 1752 to 1760 include some of the most charming porcelain ever made in England.

A remarkably soft and delicate style of flower painting is quite peculiar to Bow and printed decoration was also used here to some extent. Blue and white ware painted in under-glaze blue in the Chinese manner was produced in large quantities. The "Old Japan" pattern of polychrome decoration was also very popular, and decoration in the styles of Dresden, Sevres and other Continental factories were included. The later productions of the factory are not of the same excellence. Bow figure pieces with plain bases were made prior to 1755, those with scroll bases afterwards. These figures are frequently attributed to Chelsea or Worcester, owing to the similarity of the marks. In 1776, William Duesbury of Derby bought the works and removed them to Derby as he had previously done with Chelsea.

BRADWELL WARE: See ELERS WARE.

BRAMELD WARE: See ROCKINGHAM.

BRAMPTON WARE: A brown ware also known as Chesterfield ware. Posset-pots, puzzle jugs, bear mugs and other vessels having greyhound handles were made during the 18th century.

BRISTOL PORCELAIN: Porcelain of soft paste was made at Bristol probably as early as 1750, and a factory operated there by William Lowdin was some time after transferred to Worcester. About 1766 under Richard Champion they began to make hardpaste porcelain from Dresden models. They also imitated Chinese ware in color and design. Technical short-comings mark much of this work. Warping and fire cracks are common; handles are often askew and the glaze is often pitted. In 1773, porcelain was made from the formula of William Cookworthy, who had previously operated a factory at Plymouth. In 1778, the works were closed, and in 1781 Champion sold his patent rights to a company of Staffordshire potters who had works at New Hall (q.v.). It is very difficult to distinguish Bristol china from that of Plymouth (q.v.).

Every piece of true Bristol china is rare and of value, owing to the brief time the works were in operation. Some of the Bristol figures rank with the finest ever made in England. Standing apart from the other Bristol productions are the biscuit plaques with modeled and applied decoration in relief, which Champion made for presentation to his friends.

BRISTOL WARE: Early in the 18th century several firms were engaged in making delft, frequently inscribed with dates. The earliest-existing example is dated 1703. The blue in the decoration is of a darker and more pronounced tone than that used at Lambeth (q.v.). The decorations were frequently in the Oriental or Dutch style. In addition to blue other colors were also used. Excellent tiles of a decorative character were made, difficult to distinguish from Dutch tiles, unless the subject is English or unless identified by initials or a date. Succeeding the delftwares, Joseph Ring in 1786 began to make cream ware, of a warm cream color due to the glaze and not to the body of the ware itself. This ware was decorated in finely painted flower patterns in enamel colors. During the 19th century the pottery has been carried on by different owners.

BUEN RETIRO (Madrid) PORCELAIN: The factory was established by King Charles III of Spain in 1759 and carried on until the works were destroyed by the French, when Napoleon invaded Spain. The ware is a soft paste, of a delicate white and more than usually translucent. It is very much like that of Capo-di-Monte at Naples, also established by Charles III, while King of Sicily, but excels that in delicacy and thinness of body. It was probably the most costly and most technically perfect of any 18th-century porcelain. Even in Spain this ware is exceedingly rare. Outside of Spain it is scarcely known.

BURLINGTON (Vermont) POTTERY: A pottery was started here in 1806 by Norman L. Judd, who learned his trade at Norton's pottery at Bennington. Soon after starting work here the pottery was destroyed by fire and Mr. Judd went to Rome, New York, where he carried on a pottery business for more than twenty years. The Burlington pottery was afterwards rebuilt and operated by Nichols and Alford, and they made ware which was, at that time, very popular in Northern New England. Much of it closely resembled Bennington ware of the same type. Ballard Bros. afterwards ran the plant until into the Seventies.

BURSLEM: Known as "The Mother of the Potteries." In the 17th century it was the largest pottery center in England. See STAFFORDSHIRE.