Pottery (Post Medieval Period )

03 Jun


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


4 responses to “Pottery (Post Medieval Period )

  1. Lasseter

    June 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Good heavens, if my late mother were alive and following your blog, this post right here would have provided her with a very happy viewing in her afternoon. I myself have no knowledge on the topic, but this was one of her things. At the least it gives me a moment to reflect in my own way. I was called upon once or twice to help Mom decipher or compare potters marks Perhaps I shall return in a sparer moment to learn a thing or two about pottery myself. For auld lang syne. 🙂


    • ritaroberts

      June 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thank you !. Sounds as if your mother may have possessed some antique pieces,did you inherit them ? If so maybe you will be able to date them now. (I hope so ) . I will be blogging further on post medieval pottery so watch the space. Thanks again for reading.


  2. nutsfortreasure

    June 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Nice post! Truly amazing the work they did back then. Loved the info on their marks as we treasure hunt 🙂


  3. ritaroberts

    October 31, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Reblogged this on Ritaroberts's Blog.



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