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This is a stunning part dessert service made by Barr Flight & Barr in Worcester, and painted with naturalistic flowers by William Billingsley between 1808 and 1810. The service consists of one deep central oval dish, four slightly smaller oval dishes, two round one-handled dishes, and six plates.

 

Provenance: The Charles Dawson Collection. One of the items has a label of the London Ceramic Circle Exhibition 2014.

 

Barr Flight & Barr was the continuation of the famous Worcester Porcelain Company. In fact the factory went through various partnerships and names, most of which involved either the name Barr, Flight, or both (or double!). This confusing period in the factory's existence is often called the "Flight & Barr" period. Eventually the factory absorbed some of its spin-offs and was turned into the Royal Worcester, which became very famous in the late 19th and 20th Centuries. During the late 18th and entire 19th Century they were among the leaders of china production, producing exceptionally finely painted and sculpted forms.

 

This service is in a simple white design with modest gilt borders, and it is painted with free-flowing naturalistic flowers by the famous painter William Billingsley, who worked for Barr Flight & Barr between 1808 and 1810.

 

William Billingsly was a brilliant but notoriously difficult man who left behind a trail of debts, broken hearts and mystery - but he was also one of the most important people in the history British porcelain. Billingsley revolutionised the way British decorators painted flowers; he added a freedom and artistry that now singles out British flower painting, and he created a new technique for painting roses. Billingsley worked at Derby, Worcester and Mansfield. He also set up his own potteries in Pinxton and Nantgarw and created some of the best porcelain ever made, but racking up great debts, before running off in the dead of night and ending his days at Coalport painting flowers.

 

All items have the impressed "BFB" mark.

 

References: Three dishes from this service are illustrated by Charles Dawson, Worcester Flight & Barr Porcelain (2023), p.199, fig.18.16.

A pair of dishes from the same service is in the Museum of Royal Worcester.

 

CONDITION REPORT The service is in near- perfect antique condition without any damage or repairs. Only one of the round dishes has some discolouration on the underside, however none of the dishes shows any clear crazing so the discolouration is probably a kiln dust issue from production. Some dishes have some light rubbing to the gilt.

 

Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.

 

There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!

 

DIMENSIONS to be added

Barr Flight & Barr part dessert service, flowers by William Billingsley, 1808-10

SKU: A-WOR63
£6,500.00Price
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