The History of Fake Porcelain Factories

by : rhusain

There were many small factories, which did not, got mentioned in many of the historical evidences that were discovered from different parts of England. But these small factories contributed much to the development and spread of the porcelain wares from the country. Here we are going to see about those small factories of porcelain works.

A small factory was started in this Suffolk town in 1757, and continued in operation until 1802. In the past it received attention out of all proportion to the merit of its productions, and through a mistake in a book published in 1863 a very large amount of Chinese hard-paste porcelain was accredited to it. In spite of the fact that this has been proved a fallacy; much Chinese ware of the once-disputed type is still called 'Lowestoft'; not only in England, but also in America.

Lowestoft ware is similar to that of Bow, and the factory is said to have been started by a man who smuggled himself into the Bow works and learned the secrets of their manufacture. This story may or may not be true, but the two porcelains are very alike in appearance and both contain bone ash. Much domestic ware painted in under glaze blue was made at Lowestoft, and is indistinguishable from that made at the London factory. Many of the pieces were decorated in colors, and a few figures are claimed to have been made.

One feature of the productions during forty-five years is the large number of commemorative pieces that were made. They range from small tablets honoring a birth or death, to sets of tankards with the name of the alehouse for which they were made. They are interesting; much sought after and rare, many having gone to museums.

In 1768 William Cookworthy, a Plymouth chemist, took out a patent for the making of true hard-paste porcelain using ingredients he had found in Cornwall. He opened a factory at Plymouth in that year, and two years later transferred it to Bristol where Richard Champion became manager until he bought the concern in 1773.

The earlier porcelain made at Plymouth is often smoke-stained and misshapen, and the under glaze blue sometimes used is more like a blue-black. After the move to Bristol many of the same faults appear, but less frequently, and the majority of the pieces stand comparison with other wares of the period.

Many of the shapes of tablewares are from Sevres models, but some of the figures are original in design and their painting is usually very accomplished. Champion made a number of highly decorative services at Bristol for presentation to his friends, and another feature of the factory was some small biscuit plaques carefully modeled with flowers and Other ornament in relief round a portrait bust, or a coat-of-arms. The thirty or so recorded plaques of this description include five with portraits of Benjamin Franklin, and one with George Washington.

In 1781, the patent was sold to a group of Staffordshire potters who opened a factory called New Hall at Longport, Staffordshire. The mark at Plymouth was the alchemists' sign for tin, like a figure four, in red; and at Bristol an 'X' in blue.

Some of the small factories that came into existence made their own styles of porcelain but some of them fake the designs and styles of the more popular ones. The wares made at the Suffolk town is still called 'Lowestoft', and the mark at Plymouth was the alchemists sign for tin, like a figure four, in red and in Bristol it is marked an 'X' in blue.