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History Of Pottery And Porcelain:
Pottery And Porcelain Defined
History Of Pottery
Romano-British Pottery
Asia Minor
Hispano-Moorish Pottery
Italian Pottery
Majolica Ware
Forms Employed By The Italians
French Pottery
German Pottery
Holland - Delft
English Pottery
Introduction To Porcelain
Oriental Porcelain China
European Porcelain
English Porcelain
Italian Porcelain
French Porcelain

Other Encyclopedias:
Pottery And Porcelain
Clocks And Watches

Pottery And Porcelain Defined

( Originally Published Late 1800's )

In the catalogue of fictile wares there are two distinct provinces which are easily confounded by the casual observer. Of similar exterior appearance, attainable through the same general processes, and utilized in forms common to each, it is not strange that they should pass undistinguished. The difference between the two is so marked as to command for each a separate and distinct consideration. Each has its individual character, each its own peculiar properties and history; they are allied to each other only in so far as primitive and imperfect productions are allied to ultimate perfection in the same province. In pottery we find form and color, but the question of a wider sphere of usefulness to be gained by the addition of firmness, hardness and strength, was only to be answered by the discovery of porcelain. In the course of history, pottery has attained, in some instances, such a texture and degree of perfection as to resemble very closely the ordinary porcelain, yet the exterior features of each ware are such that the practised eye can readily determine the province of any piece which may be brought under its observation; one test however is infallible, that is, fracture.

Pottery breaks and exhibits a coarse, rough edge; not having been exposed to heat sufficient to produce vitrifaction, it still retains the granular features of baked clay. Porcelain cleaves off with a smooth, sharp fracture, showing no material difference between the edges and surface, it occupies the intermediate position between pottery and glass. In their historic order and the order which they are generally reviewed, they stand:

1. Pottery-Including Majolica, Fayence, etc.
2. Porcelain-Including China-ware, Dresden, Sevres, etc.

The word Fayence, or Faenza, according to Fairholt, "is a collective word, or name, for all the various kinds of earthenware and glazed porcelain," though it has come to be considered, and very justly, significant only of pottery. The little town of Faenza, near Bologna, was at one time famous for its production of this ware. Porcelain was then unknown in Christendom, except as a rare article of import from the Orient. The word porcelain is from the Portuguese, porzellana, a cup.


Pottery is produced in two forms, soft and hard, this difference being produced by composition and the degrees of heat to which it is subjected. Common building-brick is soft, fire brick is hard. Pipkins, pans, etc., are soft, while crockery, such as Queen's-ware and Ironstone generally, are hard. Soft pottery is the most ancient, and its peculiar characteristics are-soft paste, which may be scratched with a knife or file; composed of clay, sand or chalk. These soft wares are of four kinds:

1. Unglazed. Most ancient, of Egypt, Greece and Rome.
2. Lustrous.
3. Glazed.
4. Enamelled.

The manufacture of this latter ware was commenced at a period only shortly anterior to the introduction of ceramic art into Christian countries.

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