Battam & Son / Thomas Battam jnr


Location and period of operation:

Battam & Son





Thomas Battam snr was born in 1786 in Westminster and died in 1861 in Kensinton, London. 
He was in London on the 1841, 51 & 61 censuses and his occupation is an artist in china & glass.

He and his father occupied positions of authority in the art department of Spode's.

(Probably Thomas Battam snr was the son of a Thomas Battam of Tufton Street, Westminster and later Green Walk, Christ Church, Surry who was a China-gilder)

Thomas Battam jnr
was born in 1810 and died in 1864 at Notting Hill.

He was in Stoke-on-Trent on the 1841, 51 & 61 censuses and his occupation is artist & author. 

  • Thomas Battam jnr was a painter of miniatures. In c.1834 he became Art Director at Copeland & Garratts, Stoke (succeeding his grandfather and father who occupied similar positions when the business was Spode's)

  • The introduction of parian is said to have been due 'to his taste and judgment' - it is claimed that parian was invented at Copeland & Garrett with the encouragement from Thomas Battam. (Art Journal, Vol 10, 1848).

  • From c. 1848-55 he lived at Heron Cottage, Great Fenton. 

  • Thomas was heavily involved in the exhibiting of ceramics at Crystal Palace. In 1851 he wrote the Guide to the Great Exhibition. 

  • He was the founder and president of the Crystal Palace Art Union (founded c.1858). 



Heron Cottage - home of Thomas Battam jnr
1878 map

At the cross-roads at Great Fenton stood Heron Cottage, the home of Thomas Battam jnr.

Described in 1829 as a 'small but superb edifice' (Shaw) and about 1840 as 'agreeable for its seclusion'  and having 'the character of an episcopal seat'. (Ward

It was the home of Charles J. Mason until it was put up for auction at his bankruptcy in 1848. The house was evidently an early19th-century gabled 'cottage' with Gothic features which included a cloister; Mason added a large redbrick dining-room and a ballroom. Some of its luxurious fittings were damaged by Chartist rioters in 1842. 

Thomas Battam sold the 9 bed house in 1855, apparently he then relocated to London when he proposed the 'Ceramic Court' at Crystal Palace.



Staffordshire Advertiser,  5 November 1864



The late Mr. Thomas Battam, FSA - We regret to state that Mr Thomas Battam, a gentleman well known in the Potteries as director of the artistic department at Messrs. Copeland's works, died with painful suddenness at his London residence on Friday morning, the 28th ultimo. 

Mr Battam entered the service of Messrs. Copeland and Garrett in 1833 or 1834, suceeding his father and grandfather both of whom occupied similar positions under the late Mr. Spode. 

He filled the office of art director ant Messrs. Copeland from that time until the day of his death, with the exception of two or three years, during which he was engaged in superintending the formation of the Ceramic Union at the Crystal Palace.

It is scarcely necessary to say that he was a man of very refined and cultivated tastes. He was himself an accomplished artist, and his judgement was always appealed to with confidence, not only in painting, but in every branch of pottery in which art in any form is an essential element. 

He was sincerely respected by art circles in London, where he spent the greater part of his time, and the esteem in which he was held was manifested in various ways.

Some years since the Council of the Society of Arts elected him a fellow of that body. He was one of the jurors in the class of pottery at the International Exhibition of 1862, and had been invited to accept the same office at the Exhibition which is to be held at Dublin next year.

He took a prominent part in the management of the Crystal Palace Art Union, and his advice on subjects connected with the fine arts was always listened to with the greatest respect by the directors of that great undertaking. 

In private life Mr. Battam endeared himself to a large circle of friends, by whom his unexpected death is deeply lamented. He will be succeeded in his responsible office at Messrs. Copeland's by Mr. George Eyre, of Hanley.      








Produced by Copeland & Garrett
for the London Art Union 

This parian figure is after the marble sculpture 'Narcissus' by John Gibson (1790-1866), now in the Royal Academy of Arts, London. In Greek mythology Narcissus was a handsome youth who spurned many suitors only to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool, eventually dying inconsolate.

This figure was commissioned by the Art Union of London, an organisation established in 1836 for the encouragement of British artists and the improvement of public taste in matters of the arts. The Union had an annual subscription rate for which each subscriber received an engraving of a painting, and also the chance of winning a prize picture or sculpture.

Parian-ware, a matt white porcelain developed in the 1840s, recalled the sheen and translucency of the marble of classical sculpture and was widely used for decorative figures.

The Victoria and Albert Museum




Crystal Palace Art Union 

Crystal Palace Art Union was founded in 1858 by Thomas Battam jnr, who had formerly been director of Art Work for Copeland and Garrett. 

Unlike the other Art Unions it was a private company rather than a philanthropic scheme to promote art. 

Until 1864 it was based at Sydenham, in the Ceramic Court of the Crystal Palace. It was approved by the Board of Trade in 1858 but commenced its activities a year later. 

For a subscription of 1 guinea (or more), the subscribers could choose a piece of Parian from a list. The Bride, one of the most popular busts ever produced in Parian, was issued in 1861. 

In 1864 Battam died and the union changed its name to the Ceramic and Crystal Palace Art Union, and its offices moved from the Polytechnic Institute in Regent Street, to Castle Street, off Regent Street. Little is known of its activities after that time, although it appears to have continued until at least 1883.


Parian porcelain, slip cast bust of 'The Bride'
produced at Copeland
Thomas Battam jnr was Art Director at Copeland and 
was said to have invented Parian 

Raffaele Monti (1818-81) specialized in carving marbles with illusionistic veils. 
The Bride was derived from the head of a full-length marble of a kneeling Veiled Vestal of 1847, which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, and was acquired by the Duke of Devonshire. 

The parian version was first issued as a 2 guinea prize to 
Ceramic and Crystal Palace Art-Union subscribers in 1861

The Fitzwilliam Museum



London Gazette, September 22 1854

Thomas B
attam - member of the Staffordshire Potteries
Committee for the paris Exhibition of 1855


Selected by the Committee for the Staffordshire Potteries 
to exhibit at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1855... 

Battam, T., jnr
Heron Cross, Great Fenton, Stoke-upon-Trent
Porcelain paintings


The Athenĉum
July 31 1858 

Crystal Palace - Ceramic Court
Under the direction of Thomas Battam Esq., F.S.A.


Wikipedia article on Thomas Battam

Wikipedia article on the Art Union of London

Wikipedia article on Parian Ware

Questions/comments/contributions?  Steve Birks