Imitation, as good as real

I've been looking at very crafty imitations of Swansea items this week. Swansea and Nantgarw were two factories in Wales in the very early 19th Century, and they made some of the most beautiful porcelain ever made. The local Welsh clay was unique, but it was also very costly to work with: the best quality had a kiln waste of 90%, meaning that only 1 in 10 items would come out of the kiln in a usable state! The Welsh factories also had some of the best flower painters, who created their own tradition of flower painting, see my previous post here. With such high costs it is no wonder that both factories soon collapsed, in spite of the great respect people had for them. There was a huge quantit

Of angels and doves

A while ago I showed the two beautiful Minton figures of Miranda and Lalage in celadon "parian" china, and last week I showed the stunning Copeland potpourri vases with parian cherubs. Today I have another one of these wonderful parian porcelain items: a Minton tazza, again made of white and celadon parian china, this time fully glazed. Parian china was difficult and expensive to make; it needed a special machine to create the slip, and mixing in the colour for the celadon made it even trickier. The parian recipe had first been developed by Thomas Battam at the Copeland factory 1842, and very quickly Minton copied it (and they were successful in making many people believe they invented it!).

Parian: for the gods

You will have seen sculpted putti, or cherubs, like these before, and here is the story of how these were made. They were made of parian porcelain, which was the invention of Thomas Battam, the Art Director of Copeland (formerly Spode). He wanted to make figures with more definition, like the German and French factories were able to make. As soon as he had presented his new invention to the world in 1844, Minton copied it. They became the more famous maker of parian figures; they liked to pretend they came up with it and gave it its name. Parian porcelain is named after the Greek island of Paros, where the Greeks got their marble from for the famous figures for their temples - you could righ

How to get your 5-a-day

Are you in need of some vitamins? Charles Ferdinand Hürten knew his fruits, and will provide you with a healthy 5 per day! Above you see a wonderful large earthenware charger made by Copeland in 1890, and painted and signed by C. F. Hürten. Hürten was a German porcelain painter who worked at the French Sevres factory. William Taylor Copeland, who owned the Copeland (previously Spode) factory in England, spent 2 years convincing him to move to England and work for him. Once he did (on a handsome salary and all family expenses paid for, rather than the usual fee per piece), he brought great fame and riches to the Copeland factory. Hürten was an extraordinarily talented painter of flowers and f

Paris, Paris

I have just been spending the week in the beautiful city of Paris, so I thought to show you a top piece of Parisian beauty: a dessert service made by Feuillet in Paris in about 1835. There were lots of porcelain factories in and around Paris in the 18th and 19th Century, and unlike the British factories, many did not each develop their own style, but sent their blanks to the decoration studios in Paris, who would then put them out into the market. Feuillet became one of the top decorators in the early 19th Century. Jean-Pierre Feuillet was a genius of humble beginnings. He was born in 1777 as the son of the pastry chef for the Prince de Condé. The prince ran a school in his chateau outside

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