Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Beauty of Pot Lids

In l835 George Baxter patented a printing process which was to revolutionize the production  of full color prints. Before this an engraving had to be hand tinted to produce a colored version, but first by printing the basic image in black outline from an engraved plate, then adding as many as twenty different colors, each printed from a separate plate, Baxter was able to produce exceedingly large amounts  of an image in color very quickly and inexpensively.

When one of Baxters employees left him in l848 to team up with another printer by the name of  F.W.Collins they patented a process similar to Baxters,but for printing on pottery. These men were able to evade the restrictions of Baxters patent by reversing the printing process.

Three separate colors- red-yellow and blue were printed first, then the black outline of the image was added. Felix Pratt a Staffordshire potter and the proprietor of F.& R Pratt and Co in Fenton, realized the commercial possibilities in producing multicolored wares. This factory produced the lids of thousands of small ceramic pots each year as packaging for products such as hand cream, rouge, meat and fish pastes, soothing salves and ointments, these lids were perfect to show off the new decorating technique.

Between l845 and about l875 Pratt and Company’s beautifully decorated pot lids with their wonderful scenes such as those from daily life, portraits of royalty and historical figures also animals, in fact, every picture imaginable were to be seen in most Victorian homes.For forty years the engraver Jessie Austin working with Pratt and Company created the engravings that decorated the lids, producing more than 450 designs over his long career.

Austin first made a drawing of his subject, then from the drawing a series of four copper plates were engraved, one for each of the three primary colors ( red  blue and yellow ) and one for the black outlines. The pot lids were given a preliminary firing, then the colors were printed. By overlapping colors and letting them blend it was possible to create the secondary colors such as green, pink, lavender and orange. The black outlines were printed last then the lids were left to dry for two days.After being coated with a clear glaze they were then fired a final time. Some lids were also gilded around the rim.

The subjects printed on these lids gave a clue as to the contents of the pot. If for instance bears were illustrated this meant that the pot contained bear grease which was used for many purposes one such use for cleaning leather. Scenes with fish or men fishing were used for pots containing fish pastes, likewise meat paste pots illustrated scenes with boars or cattle. The scenes alone gave rise to what the pot contained, very rare were  words. necessary except for the caption.Pratt ware Pot lid  The Shrimping Scene

Pratt Ware  The Shrimping Scene.

Pratt Ware  Bears Grease Pot Lid

This pot contained Bear Grease used for cleaning leather

Pratt Ware  The Game Bag  Pot Lid The Game Bag Pot Lid

Pot Lid Pratt Ware  On Gaurd On Guard

Sentimental scenes of everyday life in Victorian times like a family shown saying grace before a meal or the family sitting around the fire.

Pratt Ware Pot Lid  CourtingThe Courting.

Pratt Ware Pot Lid  The Village Wedding

The Village Wedding.

Prattware Pot Lid  Wimbledon July 2nd l860 Wimbledon July 2nd l860

The Snow Drift Pot Lid The Snow Drift.

These are just a few of the beautiful Pratt Ware Pot Lids and are among my favorites which I think you will agree are delightful and well worth collecting. You can still pick them up at a reasonable price.

And last but not least is a picture of one I managed to purchase myself a few years ago although damaged.

Aviary Complete 019

My Pot Lid.. The scene is of a sleeping tramp  being watched by one young boy from behind a bush while another boy attempts to steal his bundle. The caption is ” I see you my boy “


Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Antiques


Pottery Post Medieval (Part 3 )

Imports of Chinese porcelain through the Dutch East India Company resulted in a large part of the early output of Delft potters being copies or imitations of Chinese wares. As at Nevers, blue-and-white wares were first outlined in purple or black. Often, too, the wares received a second glazing. The backs of plates and dishes, which had initially been covered only with a clear lead glaze, were now covered in lead-tin white. Although at first the Haarlem potters were content to incorporate decorative features of imported Chinese wares into what was otherwise an essentially Netherlands pattern ,by  the middle of the seventeenth century were remarkably accurate copies . For a century patterns of Chinese origin remained the predominant choice of the Delft potters, but from 164l they turned also to copying  Kakiemon  and Imari porcelains. Delft Dish copying Chinese porcelain


In l650 two Southwark  potters established a workshop at Brislington Nr Bristol and in about l665 the production of ‘defltware’ began at Lambeth, presumably by immigrant potters from Delft . In l683 Edward Ward of Brislington set up the Temple pottery at Bristol, and two years later the Burlington pottery was founded in New Jersey, U.S.A., presumably by other craftsmen from Brislington. By l700 two further workshops were established in Bristol. In view of the short intervals between the foundation of these potteries, it is hardly surprising that it is very difficult to distinguish between the wares produced in these centres, but the distinction between Delft and English ‘delft ‘ is more easily made. By the comparison the English wares are more clumsy although the range of motifs such as sketchy flower decorations and landscapes, derived from Delft, or direct copies of Chinese blue-and-white and famille verte porcelain – closely followed those of Delft itself. English delftware of this period has a rustic charm but lacks the sophistication of the Dutch.


Between the mid-seventeenth and opening decade of the eighteenth centuries Lambeth and Bristol potters made large decorative dishes known as blue dash chargers. (These are my favorite of the English delftware)

The term ‘blue dash ‘ derives from the habit of decorating the rim with a series of oblique strokes of blue. This motif comes ultimately from Chinese porcelain, although it is to be found on  Italian, and French faience. The dishes were provided with a flat footrim, which was commonly either bored or given a groove around its circumference for suspension. Many of these dishes bear portraits of the English kings and Queens from Charles l to Queen Anne often only recognizable by the royal insignia. More remarkable than these however, are large dishes painted in floral designs in blue, green, ochre and purple, which unlike the portrait dishes seem to owe nothing to contemporary wares in Western Europe. The flowers depicted are usually tulips or carnations.Delft Blue dash Charger Lambeth

A Typical Delft Blue dash Charger probably Lambeth.

English Delft Blue-dash Royal portrait charger of Charles ll

Delft Royal portrait Blue dash Charger of Charles ll

Delft type wares have a clay colored body which has been coated with an opaque, whitish (oxide of tin) glaze This glaze tends to chip at the edges, exposing the clay body. The Delft technique  was widely used on the continent, and in England was made at London (Lambeth and Southwark), Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow, Limerick, Liverpool and Wincanton, from the l7th century into the eighteen century, when it was out-moded by the new cream wares.

Delftware apothecary Dry Drug Jar c 1710 England.

Delft Apothecary dry drug jar c l7l0 England. Note chipping of glaze around the rim.

Blue Delft markings appear on the underside of the piece and consist of some common elements. Early pieces feature a large V’ with a C’ on the upper right.

A Delft dish in the Fitzwilliam Museum

A Delft dish. Courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Museum Another example of Delft marking.

Delft Mark

These are the only examples of Delft ware marks I could find.  If you are interested in Delft Pottery maybe you could do some further research yourself and if you are also interested to collect this really lovely pottery good luck.


Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Antiques


Pottery (Post Medieval Period) Part two

My previous post on post Medieval pottery which I will call  Part One, was all about The Royal Worcester Porcelain (The early years)  these wares now antiques are highly collectable and as previously stated there are still bargains to be had out there once you know what to look for.

This post is about another of my favorite pottery manufacturers that of  ” Wedgwood ”

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD  ( The early years )

In 1752 Josiah set up his own business but two years later at the age of 24, he was taken into partnership by Thomas Wieldon. Around this time Josiah decided something new was needed to add a little spirit to the business, which is why Wieldon was agreeable to enter into the partnership with so younger man. Wedgwood and Wieldon began their research into glazes, and in 1759 a greatly improved green glaze was produced, followed a year later by a clear yellow one..

Josiah Wedgwood 1730-1795

Josiah Wedgwood.

The partnership ended in 1759 and Wedgwood set  up his own business again at the Ivy House Works in Burslem. moving five years later to the Brick House, Burslem. Before this it is difficult to distinguish  those of Wieldon, for he made the same range of wares, including jugs and teapots modeled in the form of pineapples and cauliflowers embellished with his green and yellow glazes..

Wedgwood Teapot 1759 Green Glaze

Wedgwood Green Glaze Teapot c 1759

Wedgwood Teapot Cauliflower wares

Wedgewood Cauliflower Teapot.

By 1762 Josiah Wedgwood was so confident in his ability to produce colored wares, that he presented a  breakfast set to Queen Charlotte, and in 1765 referred to his cream ware as “Queens Ware ”

Collection of Wedgwood Creamwares.

A collection of Wedgwood pierced Cream Wares. 1780-1800

1768 The merchant Bentley became his partner manufacturing decorative items that were primarily unglazed stone wares in various colors, produced and decorated in the style of Neoclassicism. Among these wares were the popular black basalts which by special painting using pigments, mixed with hot wax which burnt in as an inlay, thus could be used to imitate Greek and red-figured vases. Wedgwood’s Jasper ware a fine grained vitreous body resulting from the high firing of paste containing barium sulphate was also produced. In 1771 Wedgwood built a factory called Etruria where he produced his ornamental vases.

Jasper ware was made of white stoneware clay that had been colored by the addition of metal oxides and ornamented  with white relief portraits or Greek Classical scenes.

wine_water_ewers Wedgwood Jasper wares.

Two beautiful Jasper ware wine-water ewers. about 1785.

Wedgwood Black Basalt

Wedgwood Black Basalt a hard black stone-like material was used for

vases, candlesticks, teapots, jugs and busts of historical figures.

The Portland Vase.

Wedgwood’s famous Portland Vase.

Jasper’s introduction in  1775  was followed by other wares such as: – rosso antico ( red porcelain) cane, and olive wares.

For those of you wishing to collect early Wedgwood here are a few pottery marks to refer to.

Wedgewood Pottery Marks 2

Wedgewood Pottery Marks.Many of the Staffordshire potters and others copied Wedgwood styles which are sometimes unmarked but  still of good quality. Lookout for the name Wedgewood this is a fake copy.

Note:- true Wedgwood is not spelt with an e in the middle.

For those of you wishing to collect early Wedgwood I hope this post will help to identify the piece you may spot at maybe a car boot sale or an Antique shop or even at a market stall…….It has been known.

Watch this space for more about Post Medieval pottery.

Good luck.

Many of Josiah Wedgwood’s designs are still being produced today.

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Antiques


Pottery (Post Medieval Period )


The post medieval pottery covers a wide range of forms and decoration. Cups, bowls ,plates,  dishes, serving dishes, drinking vessels, teapots,  jugs and many more were produced in Britain as well as some imports.

The potters producing these wares were numerous   and well known, those such as Wedgewood, Copeland, Worcester Porcelain, Spode, Masons Ironstone China, Crown Derby, Minton and many more and ranging in date from the 15th century onwards. Wares consisted of color painted wares also blue and white painted as well as transfer printed pottery items.

I will choose the most popular pottery manufacturers and my favorites for the beginner as stated in my previous posts about pottery, although previous ones were linked with archaeology. This post is  more to do with antiques so may also encourage antique collecting as there are still some bargains out there if you know what to look for.


In 1751 on the banks of the river seven in Worcestershire England Dr John Wall and a group of  local businessmen established a porcelain manufactory. From this formation it took the Worcester Porcelain factory just  thirty years to create wares to be easily distinguishable and so establish a superior quality.Worcester had obtained licences to mine soapstone in Cornwall and Worcester soapstone porcelain did not crack when boiling water was poured into it giving  Worcester a significant advantage over other producers.

1st period Worcester Teabowl and Saucer  Bird in the ring c1760-1765

Dr Wall Period Tea bowl and Saucer (Bird in a Ring pattern)

Worcester Rose Water Bottle Willow Pattern c 1760

Willow pattern Rose Water  Bottle. c 1760

Hard paste porcelain is made of two ingredients- kaolin (clay)  and petuntse (decomposed granite). European countries were unable to unlock the secret to the formula  so they made their own first porcelain by substituting different materials. Kaolin instead of soapstone for instance. The soapstone made the porcelain withstand the heat of boiling water and produced tea services that were very much in demand.The earliest Worcester Porcelain was painted in blue under the glaze which proved to be the most popular ware throughout the first ten years. The art of painting on the glaze in enamel colors was also mastered.

A beautiful Dr Wall 1st period Worcester Vase.

A beautiful Dr Wall period painted vase.

Dr Wall period Cup and Saucer Dr Wall period Cup and saucer.

Early Dr Wall Sauceboat.

The history of these early Dr Wall period Sauceboats

Sauceboats during this period were used for gravies made from roast beef much as we  do today but flavored with wine ,citrus  juices, and capers. Other sauces had a ‘ roux ‘ base made by combining butter or lard with flour and broth or milk, and flavored with parsley , onions, celery, anchovies, oysters , cockles or eggs. Butter sauces, served in smaller sauceboats or butter boats, frequently accompanied vegetables. A hot sauce of wine butter and sugar was the most common one for puddings.

1st period Worcester Porcelain Teapot decorated with chinese figures c 1770

Teapots are my favorite .This is of the Dr Wall period and painted with chinese figures c 1770


By 1756 Although the actual origin is controversial the engraver Robert Hancock working at the Worcester Porcelain is believed to have mastered the art of decoration by transfer printing. Towards the end of the 18th century The Worcester Porcelain was commissioned to make the first Royal service for the Duke of Gloucester and was painted with different groups of fruit on each piece.

At the retirement of Dr Wall in 1774 his partners continued production until Thomas Flight purchased the factory. The Flight and Barr periods in their various styles firmly established the factory as one of the leading porcelain manufacturers in Europe. In 1775 Thomas Turner left Worcester and set up a rival factory at Caughley  in Shropshire, where he mass produced blue and white table wares in a similar style to those of Worcester.

Flight Barr and Barr period Worcester Porcelain c 1815 Japan Pattern.

The Flight Barr & Barr period Worcester Porcelain c 1815 Japan Pattern.

Caughley  Pickle leaf dish Underglaze blue transfer print c1780-95

Caughley Pickle Leaf Dish c 1780-95 Under glaze blue Transfer print

Fisherman and Cormorant Pattern

Caughley fluted coffee cup underglaze blue c 1785

Caughley Fluted Coffee Cup under glaze blue c 1785. The fluting is sometimes a way of recognizing Caughley wares.

By 1789 the quality of their work at Worcester was held in such high esteem that following a visit  to the factory King George 111  granted the company the prestigious  ‘ Royal Warrant ‘ as manufacturers to their Majesties. Thus the word ‘ Royal ‘ was added to the name. Indeed while its rivals of the period at Bow and Chelsea have long since disappeared, The Worcester Royal Porcelain Manufacturing became world famous and is now one of the largest manufacturers of fine bone china in England. This record is a tribute to the quality of the ware produced for two hundred and fifty years.

Below are some potters marks to help identify Early Worcester Porcelain

The first early worcester mark

Flight Barr Marks


Because there is so much detail to enter onto my blog about post medieval pottery I will post them individually I hope you enjoyed my first which is my favorite The Worcester Porcelain  Dr Wall Period.


Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Antiques

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