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19th Century English Pottery - Lustreware, Pearlware, Creamware
The early part of the 19th century is a very rich time for English, Welsh, and Scottish Pottery. Hundreds of potters were busy producing decorative and functional wares for the exploding population.
Many of these wares were mass-produced and marketed to the ordinary working family. High quality tableware and decorative items were made for the more aspiring and affluent middle and upper classes. Large country homes and elegant town houses occupied by the new industrialists, financiers and rural elite who wishes to impress bought fine examples of pottery from the classic potters of the time such as Spode, Davenport, Masons, Mayer, Wedgwood, Herculaneum, Don and countless other factories.
Underglaze blue and white transferware was very popular and much produced by numerous factories often illustrating idyllic rural scenes and romantic ruins in foreign lands.
New techniques such as items decorated in lustre were introduced and one of our specialisation’s is pink and silver lustre objects from the circa 1820/35 period. These pieces can form a stunning assemblage and are often used by interior designers to create a statement in a room.
The pink splash lustre decorated pitchers are made in the North East of England in the Newcastle and Sunderland area. The silver lustre ware was produced mainly in Staffordshire and Yorkshire. Some fine examples also came from the famous Dillwyn and Glamorgan Potteries in South Wales.
The 19th century saw a massive expansion of the population in Britain a country at the height of its power due to the impact of the industrial revolution and successful military and naval campaigns.
The demand for decorative and functional ceramics was supplied in the main by hundreds of factories in the Staffordshire area and at other major locations such as Portobello and Glasgow in Scotland, Yorkshire, South Wales at Swansea and Llanelli, North East England in Newcastle on Tyne and Sunderland and other provincial factories dotted around the UK.
Our main specialisation from this period is Staffordshire and Scottish animal figure groups. The iconic Staffordshire pottery spaniel has been produced in there thousands and we stock the very rarest and best examples ever produced especially the rarer canine figures of other breeds. We also specialise in the best examples of animal figures such as rabbits, leopards, lions and exotic birds.
Victorian Staffordshire figures are perhaps the most copied and reproduced today. The most frequent question we are encountered with is “ how can you tell a modern copy from an original Victorian example”.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR MODERN COPIES AND FAKES
- Colours used. Antique Staffordshire pottery has a fairly standard range of colours and it one should familiarise colours from authentic pieces. Beware of “wishy-washy”colours and, paradoxically; beware of extra bright colours also.
- Look at the material the item is made from, numerous figures are reproduced in a porcelain body when in fact the original was made in pottery. Many of the copies on the market today are made in China and are made with a crude porcelain body.
- If there is extensive crazing and staining it often denotes a modern piece. Antique examples do not usually have extensive crackleure.
- Some blue blotches (cobalt) in a thick lustrous glaze (lead) are usually a good sign.
- A chalky feel to the base, particularly to the rim is a bad sign and often denotes items produced in the 1960/70’s
- If the item is exceptionally heavy or light in weight it could signal the item is a copy. This is a judgement, which can be made after handling authentic antique pieces.
- Reproductions made from a mould from an original piece will be about 10% smaller than the original. (This is due to shrinkage in the firing process).
- Most figures dating from 1840 to 1880 are made by pressing two moulds together and this can be confirmed by the presence of a seam down the side of the item. Later items were made from a slip cast process (a modern technique) and there will be no seam join as these modern examples are made in one single form.
- A marked piece stating ”Made in England”, Genuine Staffordshire”,”Ye Olde Staffordshire” relate to items made in the 20th century.
- The gilt decoration applied to antique Victorian piece pre 1870 has a soft and realistic gold look. Later copies from the late 19th century to the present day have a harsh almost chromium look to the gilding.