The Story of the Stoneware Pottery

By: rhusain
There were many potters whose names could not be recognized due the non-availability or only the availability of their initials which does not help the collectors to identify the makers of some of the masterpieces that had been found in different parts of the world.

Much of the nineteenth-century ware was marked by the makers, but often only with initials, which do not help the collector very much. Printed pieces usually have the name of the pattern.

Stoneware
Stoneware is a very hard non-porous type of pottery, introduced into England in the sixteenth century from Germany. A feature of the ware is that it was glazed by putting common salt into the kiln while it was being fired; thus arises the term salt-glazed stoneware. The resulting pottery is hard, strong and watertight, and it can be made into objects much thinner in body than can ordinary clay pottery.

Nottingham was a big centre for making stoneware from the late seventeenth century, and pieces with a hard grey body and a brown glaze of orange-peel texture came from there. Many such pieces bear names and dates. Other factories nearby in Derbyshire made similar wares.

John Dwight founded a factory at Fulham, a suburb of London, in 1671. A number of pieces made by him, after two centuries in the possession of his family and now in the British and Victoria and Albert Museums, are extraordinarily well modeled, and it has been suggested that they are the work of the wood-carver and sculptor, Grilling Gibbons. Dwight claimed to have invented a method of making porcelain, but nothing resembling our modern meaning of the term can be attributed to him.

In Staffordshire, red stoneware in imitation of some imported from China, was made by two Dutch brothers named Elers, who had worked at one time with Dwight at Fulham. By 1725Dwight's greyish stoneware had been improved in colour until it was nearly white, and it was not long before this excellent salt-glazed material was being potted in quantity in the Staffordshire towns, in Liverpool, and elsewhere. Most of the ware, which was made not only into domestic articles but also figures, was ornamented with raised patterns, and the thin smear of glaze with which it was covered did not clog the delicate lines as a flowing lead-glaze would have done. Both overgraze and under glaze colors were used with great effect.

While white stoneware was finally unable to withstand the competition of Queen's Ware and porcelain, a further refinement of materials and technique enabled Wedgwood to produce with it his celebrated jasper ware. This is the pottery from which were made the thousands of relief portraits, plaques and vases that spread the name of their inventor and maker throughout the world. In addition to this ware, most familiar when colored blue but made also in pale shades of yellow, lilac and green Wedgwood developed a black stoneware (basaltes), a red stoneware (rosso antico) and a buflf-coloured (cane ware), all of which contributed to the fame and expansion of Staffordshire.

It is as well to remember that the descendants of Josiah Wedgwood are still making jasper and basaltes wares, and have done so continuously since the eighteenth century. The oldest examples reveal their age by the superior fineness of their modeling and the velvet-like smoothness of their surface.

Brown stoneware was made throughout the nineteenth century, but the productions are far from exciting. Flasks in the form of politicians and pistols were made, and a large number of jugs in imitation of seventeenth-century originals often deceive collectors.

Stoneware was introduced into England in the sixteenth century from Germany. This is a glazed ware. Nottingham was a big centre for making stoneware from the late seventeenth century. There were some potters who mastered the making of the stoneware products.
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