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The Baxter Studio

In the early days of the Coalport factory, the shrewd owner John Rose slowly built up the the factory, which was being transformed from the ailing Caughley factory to Coalport, one of the greatest British porcelain factories. While investing heavily in new kilns, Rose had to weather the ongoing Napoleonic wars, which brought about high taxes, trade restrictions and a resulting economic crisis across Britain.

So the owner of this rather new factory could not afford to employ lots of decorators; he never knew when or from where the next order would appear, and good decorators were highly paid. He therefore outsourced many of his best items to the London decorating studios, which would take pieces at short notice.

One of these studios was the studio of the great Thomas Baxter (1782-1821), one of the geniuses of British porcelain decoration. Baxter was the son of a porcelain painting family and learned the basics from his father, who ran a studio in London. He later ran his own studio and art school, becoming a well-known teacher of porcelain painting, and he was employed at various times by the Worcester and Swansea potteries, where he painted many top pieces. He also became very well-known for a beautiful dinner service he painted for Lord Nelson, who became his patron and commissioned many pieces from him. Unfortunately Baxter died young in 1821 at the age of 39, but he left behind an impressive output of wonderful pieces, as well as many pieces painted by others under his guidance.

Today I am showing two plates that were painted in Baxter's studio. They are probably not from his hand, but clearly show his style, so probably were painted under his guidance. Both these plates would have been part of a large dessert service with each piece showing a unique landscape.

The first plate has a gracious border of pink details in the French style, but the more striking feature is the sepia-coloured landscape with Windsor Castle in its centre. You can see the impressive large 11th Century castle of Windsor, residence of the Royal Family, along the sloping hill, with a wonderful group of deer in the front; some are resting, some are eating, some are on the lookout and one seems to look straight at you. The painting is detailed in very fine brush strokes that are clearly visible, which makes it very appealing. On the back of the plate is written in the same sepia colour long hand "Windsor Castle".

The second plate, with a gracious border of bold gilt acanthus leaves, holds a delicately coloured landscape set in a gilt octagon with the West Gate of Canterbury in its centre. You can see in the modern picture how the landscape has not changed much in the last 200 years, even though this is now in the middle of town; there is the magnificent 14th Century gate, originally established by the Romans in the 3rd Century, and the water mill in front of it, at the River Stour. Like the first plate, you can see the brush strokes, which gives it a warmth and realism. On the back of the plate is written in long hand "West Gate Canterbury".

Plates like these are rare; the Baxter items are true collectors' items and don't often come to the market. You can find them in my shop.

New stock coming...

I am starting to release some wonderful new stock... keep your eyes peeled on the "new treasures" area below in the next few weeks.

Where to find things

You can find these plates and many other plates here, and all my available stock can be found here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and have some fresh fruit! 🍒🍇🫐🌰


This week's new treasures:​



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