This is a beautiful set of a footed comport and a dessert plate made by Coalport between 1865 and 1870 and hand painted with birds by the famous porcelain artist John Randall, whose works have become collectors' items over the years. 

 

Coalport was one of the leading potters in 19th and 20th Century Staffordshire. They worked alongside other great potters such as Spode, Davenport and Minton, and came out with many innovative designs. When we say "Coalport" we usually think of the one Coalport factory that became famous, but in its beginning years there were two factories, one run by John Rose and the other by his brother Thomas Rose. Thomas Rose went into partnership with Robert Anstice and Robert Horton and they were located directly opposite John Rose, across the canal. The brothers' factories had much in common with each other and they shared many different shapes and patterns. Ultimately, the John Rose factory proved more profitable and John Rose bought Thomas' factory in 1814, making it the one Coalport factory that became so famous. Many of the Coalport items, of either factory, are now collectors' items.

 

These items were made in the mid Victorian period and they would have belonged to a large dessert service; I once sold the entire dessert service with differnt birds on each plate and comports of three different heights. The comport has a nest with two humming birds and the plate has water grouse just taking off in flight, painted with exceptional skill by the famous painter John Randall, who worked for Coalport most of his adult life, from 1835 to 1881. 

 

John Randall was born in 1810 and trained in his uncle's decoration establishment, which was famous for decorating imported French wares in the Sèvres style, passing them on for Sèvres in the English market. He later moved to Coalport, where he spent nearly 50 years being one of Coalport's most celebrated painters. Apart from being a brilliant artist, he was also an amateur geologist and historian, wrote several books, and once his eyesight failed him, he spent the last years of life as the local Postmaster. Randall died in 1910 at the ripe age of 100, reportedly still a witty man with a bright mind.

 

Michael Messenger perhaps best described Randall's genius as an artist, describing his earlier, more traditional style: "These stylised birds are fairly easily imitated, of course, but already one can detect the beginnings of a distinctive style: the stippled foliage and, perhaps even more significant, the almost three-dimensional effect of depth through the dark tones used in the immediate foreground. No less apparent is the suggestion of suspended animation in the birds themselves, even in stylised forms such as these." (Country Life, 5th July 1973).

 

CONDITION REPORT Both plate and comport are in excellent antique condition without any damage, repairs or crazing (which is unusual, as Coalport items of this era are usually crazed). They have some light surface wear as visible in the pictures.

 

The items are not marked, which is quite common for this period.

 

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 (diameter) 24cm (9.25") and comport is 7.5cm (3") high.

Coalport comport / cake stand and plate, birds by John Randall, ca 1875

SKU: A-COA237
£425Price
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