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A "Longton Hall" Catalogue
( Originally Published 1913 )
In the last chapter I showed how Longton Hall china has grown in value, and also expressed the view that much Longton Hall china exists in collections under the name of " Chelsea, Worcester, or Bow." Because it is rare, and supposed to be rarer than it really is, a comparatively unimportant bit of it is more valuable under its own name than under the name of " Bow " or " Chelsea " ; for to be very valuable a piece of real " Chelsea," or " Bow," or " Worcester " must be a fine piece indeed. That is not so with " Longton Hall " so much, and it is worth the while of every collector to see if he does not possess, already and unknowingly, a piece of " Longton Hall," or if he cannot acquire one. And to be valuable it need not be a very important piece.
A Catalogue of " Longton Hall.''-I fear I cannot nearly compress into one chapter only the hints and indications that can be given about " Longton Hall," but for the present let us consider the chronicles of the factory, as patient investigators have made them out. If we can obtain a list of the kind of pieces made there we may the more readily recognise some of them when seen. I am leaving out of the question the well-known salt-glaze earthenware made at Longton Hall; that is already so valuable on the market as to be prohibitive in price.
William Littler was born in 1724, a year before the birth of Duesbury, with whom he was to have more business relations than most students of English chinamaking suspect. They both came from the same village.
In July 1752 Aris's Birmingham Gazette announced that " there is now made by Littler and Company at Longton Hall, near Newcastle, Staffordshire, a large quantity and great variety of veyy good and fine ornamental porcelain or china ware, in the most fashionable and genteel taste." Note the words which I have italicised, and consider how they fit in with the theory that more " Longton Hall " exists than we suppose, and that it is mistaken for " Bow " and " Chelsea."
In 1752 Duesbury enamelled for " Littler and Company," as he entered in his books, " 6 pair of double branches, 6 pair of dubble birds, 12 pair of silvard nosells, 6 pair ditto lackered," and he also refers to these others as " Staffordshire " (which most likely meant no other than " Longton Hall"): " 12 small figures, 1 group of birds, 2 pair of birds, 6 pair of pheasants, 1 dozen large flowers, 1 pair large dogs, 1 swan, 3 small birds, 2 pair of shepardises, 4 birds, 1 pair of goldfinches, 1 pair of stooping birds, 4 pair of large goldfinches, 4 pair of smaller, z pair of large dogs." At this period, so far as we yet know, no porcelain was being made in Staffordshire except that made at Longton Hall.
In 1757 a London sale catalogue indicated that Longton Hall china included tureens, covers, and dishes, large cups and covers, jars, beakers, " with beautiful sprigs of flowers," open-work fruit baskets and plates, a variety of services for dessert, tea, and coffee equipages, sauce-boats, leaf basins and plates, melons, cauliflowers, " elegant epargnes," and " other ornamental and useful porcelain, both white and enamelled."
In the same year Aris's Birmingham Gazette advertised as on sale at Longton Hall " all sorts of china, both useful and ornamental, as well as plain blue and white tea-china of all sorts, coffee-cans, chocolate cups and saucers, punch-bowls and mugs, finely enamelled and curiously modelled fruit dishes, leaf plates, sauceboats, variety of curious useful ornaments for desserts, with figures and flowers of all sorts, made exactly to nature " and " allowed by the best judges to be the finest in England."
In 1758 another advertisement announced the production at Longton Hall of " beautiful essence pots, images, flowers, vases, with fine blue and white ribbed, fluted, and octagon chocolate cups and saucers, teasets, etc."
The late Mr. William Bemrose was the most learned and indefatigable collector of " Longton Hall," and one knows no reason to suppose that enthusiasm deceived his judgment or led his skill astray. In his book on " Longton Hall Porcelain " he gives illustrations of vase and cover, essence pots, jug, melon, leaf-shaped dish with handle, tulip-leaf teapot and stand, teapoy, vase, vase, candlestick, plate, plate, statuette " the shepherd," pair of ewers, statuette " David slaying the lion," butter-boat and cover, large white teapot (overlapping leaves), group of two boys feeding a goat, set of three vases, statuette " an actor," tall cylindrical vase, vase encrusted with enamelled flowers, pair of pug-dogs, birds on branches, pair of leopards, statuette " a market-woman," covered tureen, basket of flowers, coffee-pot, teapot, plate, cream-jug with snake handle, vase, vase, statuettes of " singers," group " the lovers," set of three vases, candlestick, milk-jug, plate, vase, bowl, cover, and stand, butter-dish, set of three tall vases, etui-case, tea-caddy, mug, tea-caddy, sugarcaster, plate, butter-boat, three mugs, set of three vases, cream-jug, tea-pot, cream-jug, statuette " girl seated," statuette " boy seated," five vases, statuette " boy with flowers," statuette " an actor," statuette " a farmer," statuette " girl with grapes," statuette " boy seated on a barrel," square vase, bowl, creamjug, vase, statuette " flower-girl," pair of statuettes " woman singing " and " man with guitar," two small sauce-boats, two leaf-basins, bowl, plate, plate, large leaf-dish, five tea-set pieces, overlapping leaf-dish, two sauce-boats, tea-cup and saucer, cup and saucer, teapot, six plates, three cups and saucers, six sauce-boats, " Long Eliza " tea-things and sauce-boats, bowl, bowl, and perforated cover, vase, beaker, and tea-caddy. All these are different specimens of " Longton Hall." It is a long catalogue, and the thing to do now is to search. In another chapter I show how to detect.