A Tale of Two Williams
Hot from the press: A Tale of Two Williams - my new column in Homes & Antiques. This month I shine the light on two wonderful porcelain decorators, both called William but they couldn't be more different!
A small Pinxton coffee can painted by William Billingsley. Credit: Bonhams
William Billingsly was a brilliant but 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. He then set up his own potteries in Pinxton and Nantgarw and created some of the best porcelain ever made, before running off again and ending his days at Coalport painting flowers.
A Derby dish by William "Quaker" Pegg, ca 1815. Credit: Royal Crown Derby Museum
William "Quaker" Pegg was a very different man: soft-spoken, deeply religious and conflicted about being a painter. The son of a gardener he deeply loved flowers. Yet, called by his Quaker religion, he gave up painting for many years. His flower paintings were of a completely new order; they are huge, draped over the porcelain as the universe is too small to hold them, with a wild, sensual quality. Quaker Pegg ended his days quietly running a corner shop with his wife and looking after the poor.
You can read more about these two gentlemen in the magazine, enjoy!
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Happy weekend, and enjoy the flowers! 🌸🌷🌹
A pair of Derby dishes painted by William Quaker Pegg, ca 1815. Credit: Bonhams
This week's new treasures: