The Most Remarkable English Porcelain Factories

By: rhusain
There were many porcelain based factories in England and some of them like the factories operating during the eighteenth century at Chelsea and Worcester were the most consistent in their use of marks. This helped the collectors to identify the original from the fake ones.

ENGLISH porcelain is, with the exception of Plymouth, all of soft-paste, and it is important for the collector to learn to recognize this feature. Like so many difficult things, it cannot be done at once; some are able to recognize it quickly and almost by intuition, but for most it is a matter of patience and experience.

Of the factories operating before 1785, Chelsea and Worcester were the most consistent in their use of marks but quite a large proportion of their output, like that of the other makers, is unmarked. Some of the factories copied the crossed swords of Dresden, and some copied each other. After 1785, the position grew better, but there were still more unmarked pieces than marked.

One feature of decorating should be mentioned: the practice of factories selling their ware, white and glazed, to men with decorating establishments of their own. This was not at all uncommon in the early days of porcelain making, and the name of James Giles is among the best known of those doing this type of work. William Duesbury, later owner of the Derby factory and purchaser of both Chelsea and Bow, began his career similarly. There was a further outburst of activity of this nature early in the nineteenth century, when Randall and Robins painted Nantgarw porcelain in London. Men who worked in this way are known as 'outside decorators', because their workshops were unconnected with a particular factory.

Chelsea
A few cream jugs with the word 'Chelsea', a triangle and the date 1745 incised in the clay under the base before it was fired have been preserved. They prove that the works was in being by that year, and it has been argued that because the jugs are so well finished whoever made them had practiced his skill for some time prior. A number of other pieces also marked with a scratched triangle are known, and to about the same early date belongs a mark in under glaze blue in the form of a trident intersecting a crown. Most of these wares were unpainted but glazed, and some show that French porcelain of the period was probably their inspiration as regards both the modeling and the glassy body.

1. Incised in the paste2. An anchor raised on3. Painted in red;
before it hardened, but an oval mound, some- sometimes on the base
has been faked.times with the anchor of a piece, but often
1745-50painted red.among the surface de-
1749-52coration of figures.
1752-58

During this eighteenth century the practice of factories selling their ware, white and glazed, to men with decorating establishments of their own was very common. These workers were known as 'outside decorators', because their workshops were unconnected with a particular factory. Chelsea was one of the most famous places for this kind of activity.
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