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The best and the brightest

I wrote about the amazing fruit painter William Cooke not long ago. Cooke worked for Coalport alongside some other very talented painters: Thomas Dixon, the famous flower painter, Joseph Birbeck, an expert in fruits, and John Randall, painting unequalled birds.

As Coalport had acquired a very strong position in the market around the year 1820, the factory was able to attract some of the most talented painters. And once you have a fantastic painting department, it gets even easier to attract good painters: who wouldn't want to be trained by a famous artist?

So when the Welsh porcelain factories collapsed around 1820, Coalport attracted some of their best and brightest: David Evans, William Pollard, even William Billingsley himself. Many didn't stay long, but that was not a problem; they would still inspire others and train up new apprentices. This created a strong tradition of flower and fruit painting at Coalport that would last for many decades.

When I wrote about Cooke the other month I showed a beautiful plate with yellow plums alongside a stunning floral vase. But I recently found out that I was wrong about the plate: it was painted not by Cooke but by Joseph Birbeck. Birbeck had a similar style to Cooke in that his fruits were quite mellow and fine, but they were also more sparse than Cooke's, who liked to create quite complex compositions. So I am showing the plate again... with a Birbeck dish that I recently found, the Cooke floral vase (which is one of the most stunning pieces I've ever had on my shelf!), and a little bottle vase by John Randall. Oh, and I still have a Thomas Dixon plate as well! Here you have some of the finest Coalport painters, all together.

Where to find stock

You can find all my Coalport pieces here, and you can find all my available items here. If you want to stay up to date with new additions, find me on Instagram, where I put up pictures with a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and eat some beautiful fruit! 🍐🍋🍇


This week's treasures:​


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