This month my column at Homes & Antiques takes us to South Wales, where for a short but glorious period British porcelain making was perfected by the illustrious William Billingsley. The two Welsh factories, Swansea and Nantgarw (pronounced nant-GAR-oo), produced some of the finest porcelain ever made - only for a few short years roughly between 1814 and 1820.
The Welsh wares are so rare and coveted that I have very few in my own collection; oh how I'd love to be able to purchase a significant amount! But trust me, these items are hard to get and therefore very pricey.
Swansea dish painted by David Evans, credit Bonhams
And all for a good reason. Nantgarw porcelain has a fine quality, translucency and purity that is unequalled. Swansea porcelain, if perhaps not quite the same quality porcelain body, has beautiful decorations by a local team of young artists trained up by Billingsley. These artists would fan out all over the British potteries once the Welsh factories went in demise, and the rest is history: British flower painting was born.
Nantgarw plate painted by Thomas Pardoe, credit Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum