New Hall, the Staffordshire porcelain pioneer

I am always very excited when big services come up at auctions, but most of the time it ends in disappointment as most have not survived time very well, and mistreatment at the auction houses often makes things worse. But this large tea and coffee service made by New Hall in about 1810 was a truly fabulous find. New Hall was a very interesting factory - it was a cooperative between several Staffordshire earthenware makers, who were offered the use of the Bristol porcelain license in return for financing a factory together. This new business went on to bring porcelain to Staffordshire and improve on it, ultimately leading to Josiah Spode’s perfect recipe of bone china. This service is made of

The Story of the Willow Pattern

Did you also grow up eating off "Blue Willow" plates? And were you wondering as a little child what that bridge was about, and the birds, and that mysterious pagoda, so exotic if you were a little child growing up in Europe? Today, as I promised in my last video, I am telling the story behind this classic design. You can watch it here, and although all my Willow plates sold out, I will have new ones again - and please get in touch if you are looking for specific ones! Enjoy the video

Blue and White, in a thousand ways

Did you always think all blue and white pottery looks the same? Think again! I have been picking a range of beautiful blue and white pottery for a customer, and before sending it all off I wanted to show you the various gorgeous styles and their interesting history. So I made a little video of it. There will be more pieces coming my way, so please let me know if you are interested in particular pieces! Blue and white transfer pottery is so known to those of us who have grown up with British pottery, that it is easy to feel bored with it. But searching for special pieces, I discovered such a fantastic range in quality and origin, and the history is so interesting, that it has become a new pas

Made in Chelsea: A Tale of Cherries and Erratic Quinces

This week, in my second "Favourite Items" video I am showing three beautiful 250-year old Chelsea plates with what I call "cherries and erratic quinces". Did you ever wonder why these very old porcelain items often have their decorations all over the place, seemingly without a plan? Well, that’s because there was no plan. Porcelain making was still in its infancy here in England, and items came out of the kiln with all sorts of blemishes: scratches, little cracks, spots and dents. So the decorator would look for these blemishes and simply cover them up with a beautiful butterfly, bug, or, in this case, a quince or cherry. I think it makes these items uniquely beautiful; more “perfect” porcel

Favourite Items

Have you seen my new Youtube Channel? And it's on IGTV (Instagram TV) as well.... I recorded my first video of "Favourite Items" last week, and by popular demand I will upload one every week. In each video I will show you one item that I particularly love, or find interesting, and I will tell you about it. I will put them on this blog to keep you in touch, and if you press the IGTV button on my Instagram profile you can watch it there as well. I hope you like them and please tell me what you think!

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© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China - copyright on all images and text

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