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Pottery & Porcelain (S) - Encyclopedia Of Antiques

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SAGGER: A fire-clay box in which the earthenware is placed when being fired in the oven. This is dusted with material infusible at the oven heat to prevent the pieces' adhering. Also called seggar.

SAINT CLOUD (France) PORCELAIN: Faience was made at St. Cloud previous to 1670 and porcelain-making was started about 1696. Although porcelain was made earlier at Rouen (q.v.), St. Cloud was the first enduring factory in France. The porcelain made was of soft paste, the decoration quite simple and the coloring was mostly blue, although sometimes of red. The factory was burned down in 1773 and not rebuilt.

SAINT JOHNSBURY (Vermont) POTTERY: Richard Webber Fenton, uncle of Christopher Fenton of Benningtan fame, was the founder of this pottery in 1808, and his son, Leander, was associated with him. They made all sorts of domestic ware and the pottery gained a good local reputation. It was closed in 1859.

SAINT PORCHAIRE (France) WARE: The ware produced here in the 16th century, also known as Henri II and faience d'Oiron, was an encrusted faience and notable as being the most costly of all ceramic gems. There are sixty-five pieces of the ware known to be in existence at the present time.

SALOPIAN WARE: The porcelain made from 1772 onwards at the Shropshire factory of Caughley (q.v.).

SALT-GLAZE: This is an exceedingly hard glaze produced by throwing into the heated kiln common salt, which vaporizes and settles on the ware in minute drops, thin and perfectly transparent. The process was introduced into England in the latter part of the 17th century, superseding the dull lead glaze before used, and early in the 18th century, Staffordshire became the chief center of salt-glazed earthenware. The best pieces of this ware were made from about 1720 to 1760, and during this period decoration in enamel colors over the glaze was introduced. The improvement of the body led to the disappearance of salt-glaze and the enameled ware gave place to transfer-printing. Some of the pottery made in this country in the early 18th century was salt-glazed, and it has been used extensively since. In England, too, some factories are still producing saltglaze ware.

SAMIAN WARE: The name is derived from the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, which was noted in ancient times for its glossy, red pottery. The paste was of a fine red, with smooth, close texture and covered with a thin glaze. It was very hard, turned on a lathe and ornamented with applied molded forms. The early Romans copied this ware in a pottery at Aretrum, and it is thought that some of it was also made in England during their occupancy of the island.

SAMSON: The name of Samson is more or less familiar to experienced collectors of old china. The founder of the house, M. Edme Samson, began business in 1845. He was a decorator of porcelain and his son Emile was a potter. The factory is located in Montreuil with a salesroom in Paris, and from it have came clever copies of Oriental and European porcelains. Some of the work is excellent as far as technique is concerned, and it includes their own private mark in addition to the marks of the factories whose productions they imitate. At one time the factory employed more than two hundred skilled workers, and is still in existence. Copies of antique faience, enamels and bronze work are included in their work.

SATSUMA WARE: A Japanese product first made by potters brought from Korea at the end of the 16th century by a prince of Satsuma. The old Satsuma ware stands foremost in the pottery products of Japan, and surpasses any other earthenware. In size, pieces of real Satsuma are small, in color they range from cream to old ivory, covered with a minute crackle. Enamel colors, gold and raised ornament are used in the decoration. Old Satsuma is very rare and many potteries in Japan have imitated it.

SCEAUX (France) WARE: This ware is notable for its beautiful shapes in imitation of porcelain, artistically decorated in colors, frequently with gold. The factory, located near Paris, was started about 1750 and was in existence until early in the 19th century. Porcelain was made here from about 1765 onward. Its early products resemble those of Mennecy, as the factory was controlled by the same men operating Mennecy.


SEMI-CHINA: Also called semi-porcelain. These terms were applied to early 19th-century earthenware having a very white semi-opaque body, due to a large admixture of feldspar. It had the outward appearance of china and represented the last word in earthenware. It had but one drawback, it was not translucent. Sometimes the term "opaque china" appears in describing it. The product of the Spode factory was particularly noted for its fine quality, beautiful decoration, often in the Oriental manner, and for its comparative cheapness. See IRONSTONE CHINA.

SEVRES PORCELAIN: There is no continental porcelain better known by name to everyone or more desirable for the collector than the French porcelain of Sevres. This remarkable porcelain was first made at Vincennes (q.v.) about 1745, under the auspices of the King of France. The early product was in plain white or with gilding only. In 1756 a factory was built at Sevres where at first a porcelain of soft paste was made, and this production up to 1769 was the best of the Sevres porcelains.

The first specimen known of the hardpaste porcelain, which gradually displaced that of soft paste, is dated 1765, and until 1804 both were made, the latter at a continually diminishing rate. Both the soft-paste and hard-paste Sevres are absolutely white, translucent and flawless. Sevres product from 1801 to 1852 is regarded with less interest by collectors than any of its earlier ware. Sevres porcelain is distinguished for its wonderful colorings and its beautiful designs, strictly French in outline. The decoration was by some of the most gifted artists and modelers of the time. The bleu-de-roi of old Sevres is one of the most famous of ground colors on old porcelain. The rather lavish use of gold was a feature of the decoration of the Empire period. The collector must be on his guard against numerous forgeries and imitations of old Sevres.

SGRAFFIATO: A method of decorating earthenware of the 15th and 16th centuries, of Italian origin. It consisted of cutting or incising the surface of the ware by means of a sharp pointed instrument before glazing. It gradually found its way into Germany, Holland and other parts of Europe. By that time it was the practice to coat the brown earthenware with a light-colored slip and to cut the incisions through that. It was usually finished at a single firing. In this country the Germans of Eastern Pennsylvania produced considerable quantities of ware in that form in the 18th and early 19th centuries. See PENNSYLVANIA SLIP WARE.



SLIP: This is a thick semi-solid fluid composed of clay and water into which the ware was dipped when it was dry enough to be fired. It was also dropped on the ware in the desired design from the spout of a little vessel. The porous body of the piece quickly absorbed the water in the slip and the piece was then ready for the glaze and firing. Various colors were obtained for the slip by use of colored oxides. For example, oxide of iron produces red; copper, green; cobalt, blue; and manganese, a color varying from a purple-brown to almost a black. This method of decoration is of ancient origin, having been used by the Romans and by various countries during medieval times. It was extensively used by English and German potters during the 17th and 18th centuries, especially at Staffordshire, and it is still in use in Switzerland and in Italy. See SLIP WARE.

SLIP WARE: This quaint, rough, slip-decorated ware was usually lead-glazed and was generally subjected to but one firing. When the design is dropped upon the ware from the slip cup, it is slightly raised from the surface. The slip wares of the 17th century represent one of the most vital developments of English ceramics. Foremast among slip potters of England were Thomas and Ralph Toft. On account of the distinctive character of the work of the Tofts, all slip-decorated ware in England has come to be generally known as Toft ware (q.v.). Slip decoration was the forerunner of the modern art of applying on the unbaked ware the colored clays which are found on the pate'sur'pate process of the Minton factory in England. See PENNSYLVANIA SLIP WARE.

SMEAR GLAZE: This is a glaze applied indirectly to the surface of the ware by painting a coat of glaze on the inside of the closed container in which the ware is baked. During the baking process, this glaze vaporizes and settles like a fine mist on the surface of the ware. It is to be seen on English Parian ware.

SOUTHERN PORCELAIN MANUFACTURING Co.: This factory was established in 1856 at Kaolin, South Carolina, by William Farrar to make porcelain from clay native to that region. Some of the ware produced was of excellent quality. The plant was a financial failure and was burned in 1863 or 1864. Among the products were porcelain, making of which was discontinued in 1860, Parian and Rockingham ware, and white and cream-colored earthenware. At the close of the Civil War a new company was organized to produce porcelain, but after twelve years of varying success, the factory was closed.



SPATTER WARE: This is a relatively heavy, whitish earthenware, a large part of whose surface is covered with a stipple design in some bright color. In the midst of this stipple work, a clear spot is usually reserved for other decoration. It is also referred to as "sponge ware." Adams of Greenfield, England, was a principal producer of this ware early in the 19th century. It was a Staffordshire product.

SPODE WARE: In 1770 Josiah Spode established a factory at Stoke-on-Trent. The factory produced under-glaze blue-printed cream ware of excellent quality, stone china, black and j asper ware. The stone china was of exceptional quality. It was a semi-porcelain and frequently translucent. It became very popular on account of its comparative cheapness and its beautiful decoration.

Transfer-printing in blue and other colors was one of the foundations of their prosperity. About 1800, the factory began to make porcelain, and it is with that ware that their product is best known. The body of the porcelain is soft and white with a fine glaze and much of it is decorated in the Oriental manner. As a rule the decoration is less pleasing than on porcelain of his contemporaries, although an enumeration would include nearly every type of decoration used on china at that time. Josiah Spode, Jr., invented a superior kind of "bone china" (q.v.), which combines the best qualities of both softpaste and hard-paste porcelain, and his formula later became the English standard and remains unaltered to the present time. The porcelain, stone china and the ordinary earthenware, in their body, glaze and decoration rank with the best of the period.

All of the product of Spode the Elder, who died in 1797, is marked and it is eagerly sought by collectors. An interesting chronology of Spode patterns appears in ANTIQUES magazine, Vol. 15, p. 394. The works are still in operation by W. T. Copeland & Sons, descendants of William Copeland, a partner of Josiah Spode, Jr., and the products worthily sustain the reputation of the earlier periods.


SPURS: During the glazing of earthenware, little tripods, called also cockspurs and stilts, are used between the pieces in piling them up in the kiln. On old ware "spur" marks are to be found where it has rested on these supports. Usually three spurs were used.

STAFFORDSHIRE: This is a generic term applying to the products of many potteries in Stoke-onTrent, Hanley, Cobridge, Etruria, Burslem, Fenton, Tunstall, Longport, Shelton, Lane End and some other lesserknown places, where for centuries potteries and potters have flourished. What is known as the pottery district was then about ten miles long and from three to five miles wide. Some of the betterknown names of the Staffordshire potters include Ralph Wood, father and son, Enoch Wood, Aaron Wood, Josiah Wedgwood, Thomas Whieldon, Josiah Spode, John Turner, R. Wilson, William Adams and Job Ridgway.

There were potteries there dating from the 17th century, although the prominence of Staffordshire was identified more particularly with the next century. The isolated position of the Staffordshire potter kept him comparatively free from outside influences and enabled him to develop his stronger, if somewhat ruder, personality. Among the wares produced there owing nothing to foreign sources are slip wares, agate, tortoise-shell, black basalt and jasper ware. No other group of potters in the world at any period has produced such a variety of wares.

From the days of the Elers, 1690-1710, to the days of Wedgwood in 1760, Staffordshire pottery was in a transitional stage. Salt-glaze stoneware was made there until it was superseded by the cream ware of Wedgwood. Under-glaze blue transfer-printing (q.v.), invented by Sadler at Liverpool about 1750, was introduced by John Turner, and Josiah Spode produced the new "willow pattern" in 1784, and from that time onward Staffordshire production was enormous. Much of it was designed for the American market.

Staffordshire pottery can usually be identified from the design on the border, as nearly all of the potters there made use of exclusive border patterns. Of course, exceptions to every rule occur at times, but the theory is generally reliable. Border designs are composed of graceful combinations of sea shells and mosses, roses and scrolls, acorns and oak leaves, grapes and vines or fruit, birds and flowers.

Beginning with the 19th century Staffordshire products were devoted largely to blue transfer-printed wares. At first the willow pattern was used extensively. About 1820, someone conceived the idea of using views of actual places instead of imaginary landscapes with Oriental themes. Views of English cities, scenes in France and Italy, and a series of American subjects became very popular both here and abroad, and resulted in a great prosperity for the potters (q.v., HISTORICAL CHINA). At first of deep blue, later light colors in pink, green, lavender and other colors were included. Some interesting accounts of the American views and of the artists who designed them may be found in the magazine ANTIQUES, July 1923, Nov. 1929, Nov. 1936 and July 1937.

Transfer-printing was succeeded by the lithographic method, a cheaper process, and the collector's interest in Staffordshire usually stops at that point. Staffordshire potters were noted particularly for igures, Toby jugs and groups. The modeling on such work from 1740 to 1780 is superior to that produced later. During that time, also, the figures were colored by the use of pigments under the glaze. Later enamel colors were used on the surface of the glaze, with lurid effect, and much of the beauty of the old school vanished. Porcelain was also made in the Staffordshire district, but to a much lesser extent than earthenware. The potteries here continue to provide the greater amount of both earthenware and porcelain now produced in England. See MINTON WARE - SPODE WARE - WEDGWOOD WARE.






STONEWARE: Stoneware is a highly-fired, partlyvitrified opaque pottery, covered usually with salt-glaze, originating in Germany. It is composed of plastic clay with a larger percentage of silica than other earthenware, which, when fired, insures closeness and hardness. It more nearly approaches porcelain in its characteristics than other earthenware. John Dwight at Fulham and the Elers brothers at Staffordshire were among the earliest of the English potters to make it. A century later the stone china of Spode (q.v.) and also the ironstone china (q.v. ) of Mason met with great success.

SUNDERLAND WARE: Several potteries were established near Sunderland, the earliest about 1775. The ware is noted for its pink lustre and for the mugs and jugs decorated in black transfer-printing with ships and with verses appropriate for the sailors for whom they were made. Sunderland and Newcastle (q.v.) ware are much alike in this respect. Rosespotted Sunderland ware is highly regarded by collectors. Much of the Sunderland product was unmarked. Numerous modern potteries are located in the district.

SWANSEA PORCELAIN SWANSEA: In 1814 a factory here under the ownership of Lewis Dillwyn began making porcelain which has been described by one writer as the most beautiful of all English porcelains in paste or body. It was of soft paste, beautiful in color, glaze and decoration. The most characteristic decoration of Swansea china consisted of flowers painted by Billingsley. Dillwyn remained there four years, and from 1818 to 1824 the factory was run by Bevington HZ Co., producing lustre and transfer-printed earthenware. Swansea porcelain is scarce and highly prized by collectors. See CAMBRIAN POTTERY.

SWANSEA WARE: Pottery established in 1750 at Swansea, Wales, produced earthenware of a high artistic order. Under-glaze blueprinted ware, notably the "willow pattern," salt-glazed ware decorated in enamel colors, and fine black basalt ware were among the wide range of examples. They also made an "opaque china," in reality a whiter and finer kind of cream ware. For a brief period in its later years Etruscan ware of black body with red Grecian designs painted in enamel was made. In 1790 the factory camainto the possession of George Haynes, who gave it the name of the Cambrian Potteries (q.v.).