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Successful History of English Pottery

Aug 17, 2007
Pottery
We use the pottery products almost everyday in our life. But there are few people who know the history of the pottery and porcelain. Here we will look into the difference of the pottery and the porcelain and try to understand the some of the different aspects of the pottery and porcelain.

Pottery is defined as earthenware and includes Faience, or Majolica, cream ware and, according to many authorities, a near-porcelain variety called stoneware. It is the commoner type of chinaware; the features that place it apart from porcelain are that it is opaque, and that the glaze does not combine with the paste, or clay body.

The origins of the making of pottery are lost in antiquity, and date from when Primitive Man found that the heat of a fire would harden clay.

So far as the modern collector is concerned little is available that was made before the sixteenth century, although a considerable number of earlier examples can be studied in museums. They are seen to be of simple shapes, mostly in the form of jugs; sometimes with decorative patterns cut or impressed into the red or buff clay; with patterns rubbed on or dribbled in wet clay (slip) of a contrasting colour or with designs stamped on pads of clay stuck on the article. Many are colored with transparent glazes made from lead, in shades of yellow, brown or green. The shapes used varied from place to place and from century to century, and it is not always possible to name where or when a piece was made. Kilns with fragments of broken ware have been excavated, and these are a guide.

English pottery
The type of pottery described in the previous chapter continued to be made in all parts of England throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the so-called studio potters are still making much. Among the more important later centers that have been identified with certainty, are: London (known as Metropolitan Ware); Wrotham, Kent; and Staffordshire, where the names of Toft, Simpson and Malkin are the best known. A further technique, known as sgraffito and consisting of decoration incised through a coating of light-colored slip to a dark body, was practiced in north Devonshire and other places.

John Astbury and Thomas Whieldon of Staffordshire were the foremost potters in the middle of the eighteenth century, and their output comprised wares of all the types that were then known.

In particular, Whieldon's name is linked with wares with pale-colored transparent glazes including early versions of the famous Toby Jug, and Ralph Wood and his son, also named Ralph, made similar types.

Astbury is noted for pieces made from red clay, either engine-turned on a lathe or with white clay ornaments in relief. These two men led the way to the perfecting of lead-glazed pottery, a step that was the achievement of Josiah Wedgwood. Wedgwood was a good practical potter, he had been for a few years in partnership with Whieldon, but was a better business man, and his cream-colored lead-glazed earthenware, known from 1765 as Queen's Ware, was so successful that it competed with porcelain, and was imitated not only by other English makers but also all over the Continent of Europe.

The closest imitator in England was the factory at Leeds, Yorkshire, which approached the high quality of Wedgwood's products, but often used original patterns. His own men in Staffordshire decorated much of Wedgwood creamware, or at a workshop he had for a time in London at Chelsea, but a quantity was sent to Liverpool to be ornamented by a newly invented process. This was by means of engravings printed on paper and transferred to the china article; quick, cheap and effective, it was typical of Wedgwood to test the possibilities of something as novel and promising. For the collector it is reassuring to know that the majority of Wedgwood ware is marked.

Some of the types of pottery could be studied in the museums. The pottery comes in different shapes and sizes and they are decorated in different ways and styles. Pottery making became popular from the seventeenth century and continued till the eighteenth and nineteenth century in England. These activities were located in different places of England.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.mycomfortertips.info/ , http://www.bathroomaccessoriesmadeeasy.info/
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