Index for Shaw's history   

Shaw's - History of the Staffordshire Potteries - originally published in 1829

 

Chapter 10 - Introduction of Lustre - and Improvements in Pottery and Porcelain Subsequent to 1800  


previous: Chapter 9 - Blue Printed Pottery
contents: index of Shaw's book


[these headings are not in the original - they are added for ease of reading]

Lustre Ware 
Gilding with burnished Gold  
Turner's Patent Stone
The Fletcher Punch Bowl
Turner's patent thwarted 
Warburton printing patent
Ridgway's Porcelain 
Daniel's Porcelain 
Daniel's Porcelain for the Earl of Shrewsbury 
Handley's feldspar Porcelain  
Alcock and Stevenson of Cobridge 
Colour printing 
Development of a lead free glaze 
Conclusion

 

 

 

Lustre Ware

The general voice of the district is in favour of Mr. John Hancock, now residing at Etruria, and a person of no mean talents as enameller, (while employed by Mr. H. Daniel, and Mr. John Brown, Enamellers, at Hanley,) having first produced the Lustre

We have heard it asserted, that he only introduced here the practice of what had been some time before invented at Derby; which certainly is possible; but the total silence of Derby tradition, discourages the assumption. 

Mr. Hanoock appears to have made the process of Lustring of little value to himself; for the recipe could be obtained from him by any person, for a small sum of Money. Hence the great number of persons engaged in the branch; and the varied excellence of their productions. 

The Lustre of our day is a good red clay body, with a fine brown glaze; upon which is laid, for Gold Lustre, a very, thin coating of a chemical mixture containing a small quantity of Gold in solution; also of Copper, for Copper Lustre. The Steel Lustre employs oxide of Platinum in the same mixture instead of gold; and when Silver Lustre is made, a further coating of platinum worked in water only, is laid on the steel Lustre. 

The ware is then fired, and will be good or bad as the glaze and the metals are so. The first maker of the Silver Lustre properly so called, was Mr. John Gardner, (now employed by J. Spode, Esq.) when employed by the late Mr. Wolfe, of Stoke; and the next were, Mr. G. Sparkes, of Slack Lane, Hanley; and Mr. Horobin, of Tunstall, (now of Lane End.) 

A person named Mr. John Ainsley, recently dead, introduced it at Lane End; and since 1804, it has been practised with varied success, thro' the whole of the District. The Gold Lustre is regarded as having been first produced by a Burslem Artist named Hennys, then resident in London; where for some years he thus ornamented the Chalk body ware made by Mr. Wilson, of Hanley. This Lustre is the solid kind. The method of preparing a Gold Lustre which could be applied by the Pencil, is very different every way; and was discovered by Mr. James Daniel, of Pleasant Row, Stoke,


Gilding with burnished Gold

Mr. John Hancock, was for time prior to 1800, employed by Messrs. Turner, of Lane End; and while there, introduced the method of gilding with burnished Gold. The practice originated in a Conversation with Mr. William Smith, Slack Lane, Hanley, (who possessed the Secret of Water Gilding, practised in Birmingham,) that suggested the application of gold in a liquid state, in place of the leaf gold used upon size; on the attempt being made, the success surpassed all expectations. 

Some persons attributed the invention to Mr. Henry Daniel; who certainly has claims for many important, improvements in the Enamelling Departments; but so far from arrogating the merit to himself, he very explicitly avowed his complete ignorance of the person by whom the invention was made, as well as when or where it occurred; and only by mere accident was the fact ascertained; Mr. Philemon Smith remembered having heard the subject mentioned, and referred as to the person, to whom the merit is due; and Mr. Turner verified the account,

 

Turner's Patent Stone

In 1800, Mr. W. Turner having amused himself with examining by chemical analysis the different strata perforated in sinking a new shaft of a Coal Pit at Milfield Gate, discovered, in what is called the Taberner's (or Little) Mine, a mineral, which by calcination becomes a pearl white, yet unlike other minerals, does not shrink by the most ardent temperature to which it has been subjected 130 of Wedgwood's pyrometer. This is now called Patent Stone, in consequence of the brothers Turner having obtained Letters Patent for manufacturing, with it as one material, a real Porcelain, wholly different from any previously manufactured. 

The stone is very different from the Iron Stone; and therefore the present Patent Ironstone China must not be confounded wiih the other Patent Porcelains, Champion's and Turners'. 

The late J. Spode, Esq. purchased the right to manufacture this patent Stone Porcelain; and a fine specimen of it has already been noticed.

 

The Fletcher Punch Bowl

Mr. Fletcher, of Edinburgh, of Sporting celebrity, having given an order to a tradesman at Edinburgh, for a very large Punch Bowl, the order had been forwarded to different celebrated Potters, and remained not executed. Application was ultimately made to Mr. Turner, whose throwers attempted by different processes to accomplish the object; but it was only fully and satisfactorily got into form, by the ingenuity of Mr. William Massey, the Modeller, now resident at Stoke. It holds twenty-two Gallons Imperial Measure; and is now preserved in the Museum at Edinburgh. On its outside is a kind of tablet, on which are beautifully enamelled, a Chinese Town, and the Names of the Persons and Place, as well as the date. The late John Daniel, Esq. mentioned this specimen in terms of the most glowing description.

 

Turner's patent thwarted

Early in the present century, Capt. Winter having boasted that the Articles of his manufacture, at Tunstall were the only true Porcelain made in Staffordshire, experienced no little chagrin, on ascertaining that his ware would fuse at a heat much below that usually required to fire Mr. Turner's, and that while his contracted in the same manner as other productions of the district, Mr. Turner's retained its size unaffected in shape or expansion; at which fact, Dr. Hope, of Edinburgh, expressed his surprize, in language most complimentary. 

But, at the time when most benefit might have accrued to Mr. Turner, in consequence of the celebrity which his Porcelain had acquired, the late Mr. Harwood, of Newcastle, Steward of the late Marquis of Stafford, interdicted any further supplies of the stone indispensibly requisite, under the pretext that the Marquis was offended at the Patent having been obtained, and would not encourage any monopoly!

Singular, indeed, that the manufacture of Porcelain under one Patent, should be prevented m such an authorative and aristocratic manner, (tho' probably the ostensible denouncer was wholly ignorant of the procedure of his agent,) while another person secured great advantrges. But the Marquis might have been excited to this procedure, by a remembrance of the opposition Messrs. Turner's father had manifested towards the extension of the Patent Term to Mr. Champion.

 

Warburton printing patent

In 1810, Mr. Peter Warburton, for the New Hall Company, took out a Patent for Printing Landscapes and other designs, from Copper Plates, in Gold and Platinum, upon Porcelain and Pottery. The appearance is extremely beautiful; but a great oversight in the first introduction of the method, has prevented its acquiring the celebrity to which it is entitled. The Copper Plates employed were those previously used for Black Printing, engraved in a very fine manner, and not containing sufficient oil to receive adequate strength of the pulverized gold. 

One or two Specimens, from very coarse plates, possess great beauty and elegance. There is every probability that this branch of ornamenting will again be introduced for the bottoms of tea saucers, and sides of the cups.

 

Ridgway's Porcelain

In 1821, Messrs. Ridgway, of Cauldon Place, Shelton, introduced a Porcelain of Bone Body, with a new glaze, that surpassed every other kind then produced. And to its excellent quality was added entirely original models of the several articles of Dinner and Dessert Services; (also subsequently used for Blue Printed Pottery.) much resembling the beautiful ornamental Pieces used for Silver Plate, with gadroon edge, and tasteful appendages. 

On the Table Services first coming into the market, the elegance of the vessels, and excellent quality of the Porcelain, and the Stone China, received general approbation, and obtained unprecedented preference. Other manufactrers speedily followed their steps, and improvement has succeeded improvement, in quality and ornament, to the present day. 

In 1828, Messrs. Ridgway again placed themselves at the summit of the scale of excellence, in regard to their Porcelain, which is certainly not excelled, if it be even equalled, by any of the European Manufactories. And, with the elegant forms and ornaments, well repays the inspector's investigatons.

 

Daniel's Porcelain

About 1822, Mr. Henry Daniel, the enameller, already mentioned, commenced the manufacture of a different kind of Porcelain, at Stoke; and in 1826, the Stone China, at Shelton; the shapes and patterns being of the improved kind, so much preferred by the public. But, in addition to the various methods of enamelling then practised, he introduced the practice of laying grounds, of different colours, and ornamenting them with gilding, both burnished, and embossed, or frosted work as applied to plate. 

His efforts have been very successful; and the Porcelain fabricated at the manufactory of H. and R. Daniel, will bear a comparison for excellence, and elegance of ornament, with that of any other manufacturer.

 

Daniel's Porcelain for the Earl of Shrewsbury

Early in 1827, Messrs. Daniel completed for the Earl of Shrewsbury, different services of porcelain of the most, brilliant and costly kind ever manufactured in the district, and probably more than twice the value of any private order ever received here. The extent of the order convincing the manufacturers, that it was his Lordship's noble and patriotic purpose to stimulate their ingenuity, in making the several articles as specimens of the perfection to which the porcelain manufacture is arrived; they acted under this excitement, and the result was, that the productions would well compare with the choicest specimens of European Porcelain. 

The TABLE SERVICES embraced every species of article to which modern luxury has assigned a purpose and a name: and on their several grounds of Pink and of Green, the highest style of embellishment which ingenuity could devise and Art execute was employed to produce a splendid yet tasteful tout ensemble

The centres of the plateaus have three large Vases, modelled with a degree of excellence in execution, and of justness in design, that are alike creditable to the ability of the workman and the principals, and well adapted to secure the meed of praise from all persons capable of judging of the intrinsic merits of these splendid specimens; and in the elegance of their ornaments in the several departments of chasing, gilding, flower, landscape, and figure enamellings, we are not aware that they have ever been even equalled, not to say excelled, on British Porcelain.

Designs for these, to meditation's eyes, 
Great Nature most redundantly supplies, 
Of Models best! her presence is the source, 
Whence Genius draws augmented fire and force; 
Of Teachers best! her precepts give the powers, 
Whence, to Perfection, Art by Practice soars.

Twelve smaller Vases, executed in a similar style, are supporters to the former. And, devoid of extraneous appendage, in the centre of each border or piece, is the Coronet of the Noble Earl, with the motto 'Prest D' Accomplir;' the inciting Spirit of the Order, which was most speedily executed. 

The DESSERT SERVICES were altogether original in the shapes, and presented a most splendid and elegant succession of novel and ingenious devices and ornaments; 

and the TEA SERVICES are of the newest patterns, on which very beautiful subjects of Natural History, in flowers, birds, and foliage, are enamelled with the strictest attention to accuracy and nature; and with the richest embellishments the ingenuity of the Artists could introduce. 

A TOILETTE SERVICE, en suite, for every Dressing Room of Alton Abbey, in Maroon, or Green, Pink, and Blue, richly gilded, also are a part of the order. 

The DEJEONE SERVICE embraces every Article that the refinements of taste and fashion have agreed to connect with this morning repast; and also the proper Ornaments for the Boudoir, of the most chaste description; all under the particular directions, and agreeably to the taste, of the noble Countess. 

The ground is a deep Maroon, with embossed and chased dead gold foliage, thro' which are traced a series of the finest designs, so as to appear white in the mass of gold, and add to the brilliance of the whole; the edges are strong gold richly burnished; and in the centre is the Earl's Coronet, and a beautiful ellipse of burnished Gold.

On the view of the whole we were equally gratified at the high degree of perfection to which the Art has risen, and the patriotism of the Individual in thus patronizing the manufacture of the district almost adjoining his own residence,

 

Handley's feldspar Porcelain

Messrs. James and W. Handley, then of Shelton, about the same time introduced a Porcelain from feldspar chiefly, of very excellent quality; and of this they made several Vases, much larger in size, and truly elegant and original in design, than any before produced. The application was disregarded; else we should willingly have introduced the particulars.


Alcock and Stevenson of Cobridge

In the latter part of 1828, Messrs. Alcock and Stevenson, of Cobridge, published a series of Busts of the most eminent characters of the present time, executed in the best manner of the Art, in regard to accuracy of delineation and taste and elegance of Workmanship. Many of them being exquisitely finished in dead gold, they are a very chaste, elegant, and beautiful ornament equally for the drawing room or the library.

 

Colour printing

Very recently several of the most eminent Manufacturers have introduced a method of ornamenting Table and Dessert Services, similarly to Tea Services, by the Black Printers using red, brown, and green colours, for beautiful designs of flowers and landscapes; on Pottery greatly improved in quality, and shapes formed with additional taste and elegance.

This pottery has a rich and delicate appearance, and owing to the Blue printed having become so common, the other is now obtaining a decided preference in most genteel circles.

 

Development of a lead free glaze

It is well known, tho' apparently little regarded, that the common or coarse Red Pottery, of which are lormed many utensils for cooking food used by the lower grades in the community, is covered with a verv pernacious glaze formed by either litharge, or the Potter's lead ore. When vessels of this kind are employed in either baking or boiling food, it is now ascertained, that the lead glaze is very soluble during the time of heat, and that it intermixes with animal fat, or the acid juices of fruits, or vinegar when cold, and that it is partially soluble even when any of these remain awhile in the vessels cold; its effects are thus very deleterious, producing visceral disorders, among the labouring classes, for which they are not able to assign any cause; but for whose alleviation they have recourse to ardent spirits, and thus superinduce the habit of dram drinking. 

Job Meigh, Esq. having discovered and made public a glaze free from all these bad properties, and wholly superseding the application of oxide of lead for the vitrified surface; and also the body of a better kind of coarse Pottery; by whose introduction and use by ihe common coarse ware potters, the source of injury to the health and morals of the lower classes would be removed, and yet they be served with vessels innocent yet more durable; 

the Society of Arts, at their Annual Meeting in 1822 honoured Mr. Meigh with their Gold Medal; and, in presenting it, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex highly complimented Mr. M. for his patriotism; and expressed his hope that the valuable discovery would be immediately adopted by those who made such ware; and thereby preclude further danger and injury to the health of his Majesty's subjects, from the poisonous glaze; and he requested Mr. M. to accept his personal thanks. 

 

The Glaze is made in this manner-

Red Marl is ground in water until there is formed a mixture, of the consistence of thick, cream; into this, the vessels, when well dried, but not yet baked, are first immersed, for the purpose of filling up all the pores in the surfaces; they are again well dried, and then are dipped into the Glaze, formed by grinding together in water to the consistence of thick cream, equal quantities of Feldspar, Glass, and black oxide of Manganese; (the last being omitted when the hue is needed of a whitish drab or gray.) 

The vessels are next dried well, and baked as usual. The composition for the better kind of common Ware, is 4 parts common Marl, 1 part Red Marl, and 1 part brick clay; and the Pottery thus made is harder, less porous, and better adapted for common purposes.


Conclusion

Thus have we endeavoured to trace the various stages of Improvement in the Places and Manners of the Potters, and the practices of their Art, whose Origin, Progress, and present Perfection, have been exhibited, it is hoped, free from exaggeration. 

We have noticed that the most remarkable efforts of ingenuity have resulted from the intercourse of persons peculiarly circumstanced; and are most vigorous when excited by the emulations, the oppositions, and the friendships, formed while pursuing the same means for personal aggrandizement. How much their rivalships, their jealousy, and even their antipathies, have contributed to the advancement of the Art, it might not. be prudent to mention, even was the fact fully comprehended. 

But doubtless to these are owing the foundation and completion of that excellent superstructure, which, operating thro' successive ages, has at length assumed a station in the Commercial World, never contemplated by the early Potters. 

If we have not been equally happy in the denouement in every instance, let the reader remember that to understand all the circumstances of so intricate a subject, requires more time and ability, as well as industry, than are possessed by most writers.



 

 

 



previous: Chapter 9 - Blue Printed Pottery
contents: index of Shaw's book