Wonderful Wales



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

There is a freedom about the way British porcelain artists painted flowers, and much of this is thanks to the extraordinary talents who were gathered in Wales under the guiding hand of Billingsley, who himself had changed the way roses were painted when at Derby. So even though I don't have many Welsh pieces in my collection, I do have countless ones that were directly influenced by what took place in Wales.



For now, all I can offer is a beautiful Swansea trio in the very sophisticated "Paris flute" style. And a very fun trio that is often thought to be Nantgarw, but is actually Coalport... made probably not long after Coalport invited Billingsley to come work for them, so there is certainly an influence there.


You can read all about the Welsh factories in my latest column, and if you like you can make use of below offer to get a subscription at a discount. And if you want to go to the source, the Nantgarw Chinaworks has re-opened and is now a wonderful small museum. You can see the original kilns and a beautiful collection of porcelain, and there are many workshops open to the public to learn to make your own porcelain.


Homes & Antiques Offer

For a discounted subscription, head to Homes & Antiques, it is a wonderful magazine and you will be able to catch my monthly column about British porcelain. You can get a discounted subscription and order a free copy here. The free issue contains an interview with myself and several other collectors. The magazine is delivered all over the world but you can also get a digital subscription.


Where to find things

Even though I don't have many Welsh items in my collection, you will notice that a majority of it is influenced by the Welsh flower painting that became ubiquitous in the years after! You can find all my available stock here. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story regularly.


Wish List ❤️

Don't forget, you can now create your own profile on the site and keep a wish list. Click on the Log In icon at the top right of each page.


Happy weekend, and if you can, visit the Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum!