All you need is love

[click the < arrows > to slide] London has been coming to terms with a hateful act in the last number of hours, so we need some love! This is a beautiful little figure of mother love, made by the Bow factory in about 1765. The Bow Porcelain Factory, just down the river of my stock room in East London, was one of the first potteries in Britain to make soft paste porcelain, and most probably the very first to use bone ash, which later got perfected by Josiah Spode to what is now the universally used "bone china". Bow was the main competitor of the Chelsea Porcelain Factory, but where Chelsea made very fine slip cast porcelain, Bow made a different soft paste porcelain that tended to be softer

Spot the frog! 🐸

[click the < arrows > to slide] This week I have another gorgeous dessert service: a Spode "Imperial" dessert service with the famous Frog pattern. But before we get onto the frog, why "Imperial"? In the very early 19th Century, there was a real fever for developing new types of china. Josiah Spode developed the first stable recipe for bone china shortly before 1800, and soon there were several varieties of "stone china", a more rocky, very strong and cheaper material that was better for blue and white decorations. Different factories came up with their own patents, which often contained very doubtful claims - it is more likely that they made those up in order to fight off the competition! I

These plates tell a story

[click the < arrows > to slide] This beautiful set of plates made by Bloor Derby can tell us a rich family history. The famous Crown Derby factory, owned and made great by William Duysbury in the 18th Century, had been struggling ever since the founder had died. William's son suffered from ill health and died young, leaving behind his wife Elisabeth and a 10-year old son, who developed no interest in the company. A clever employee, the brilliant Irish miniature painter Michael Kean, then married Elisabeth and took over ownership of the company. Their marriage, however, soon fell apart and Kean lost interest in the company. He had employed Robert Bloor to run the factory and once Kean had dis

Going home after 300 years

[click the < arrows > to slide!] You may have noticed that lately I started to show more Chinese Export items, which have never been part of my collection before. Are you curious why? The reason is very personal, and I will tell you today. After the war, there was little money in The Netherlands - in fact there was no money, no food and no clothes. But there were many Chinese and Japanese antiques, and Canadian and American soldiers fell in love with those while they were stuck for a while in the aftermath of the war. They started trading direct needs for antiques; they had their families send children's clothes and chocolate, and people would pay with antiques, which then were sent home to

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