Category: British


Dutch Decorated Creamware

For over a hundred years European countries sought for ways to create a fine hard paste that could compete on an equal footing with the popular porcelain pouring in from China via the Tea Clippers and Dutch Trading Ships. The problem, in the UK, was that the key ingredient was Kaolin that gave whiteness to the finished pottery and elasticity to the wet clay making it more malleable and finer that earthenware – although by modern standards Kaolin, on its own, lacks plasticity . Very few natural deposits had been found until the middle of the eighteenth Century, when William Cookworthy found deposits of Moor stone and Growan Clay in Cornwall.

Cookworthy immediately started to experiment from his Plymouth based pottery and by 1768 he had patented a formula that mixed the Growan Clay with other more traditional clay mixes and another new ingredient commonly called China stone or Petuntse (a feldspathic rock) that gave the fired clay translucency. Plymouth was, therefore, the first producer of what we now call British hard paste porcelain, inherited in turn by Bristol and then Worcester.

The patent, however, left other potteries now competing with white Plymouth porcelain in addition to Chinese porcelain and Dutch tin glazed delft ware. Even though Kaolin was discovered in Staffordshire they were forced to develop their own pastes and formulae from their own local clays, until a collaborative group of potters bought Cookworthy’s patent in the late eighteenth century.

Dutch Decorated Sacrament Creamware Plate

One of the most distinctive of these interim pastes we know as Creamware. Made with finely powdered clay, it was more malleable, smoother and easier to work on than Delft clay that was powdery and brittle and easily broken (relying to an extent on the strength given to it by its tin glaze). The more delicate and creamy warmth of the fired clay coming from potteries like Leeds lent itself to the bold colours favoured by Dutch decorators. Strong, but very light next to Delft, Creamware was exported in quantity as blanks to be decorated in Holland and Dutch decorators came to the UK to work in the potteries. Leeds is particularly notable for its success in this field and its wares were extremely popular in Holland.


English Imari – Lord Nelson Pattern

Admiral Lord Nelson ordered so much of this pattern from Chamberlains, Worcester that it is now named for him. Key features of this English imari pattern are the animals that hide in its borders. Coalport also made this pattern and there are several variants. Dating from c.1805-1815 here are two Coalport examples – with close-ups of the animals


Picture Postcard Pattern

Several factories are known to have used this decoration and research is still continuing – reference pieces include these two teapots.

Teapot 1 Originally from the Godden Reference Collection now in the Author’s Collection
Teapot 2 From the Author’s Collection

Both teapots have been under scrutiny from acknowledged experts and both are still the objects of study.

Teapot 1 first appeared in print in Goddens’ Porcelain Maunfacturer’s book (here attributed to Cambrian Pottery, but later put into a “problem” Category as you can see below).

What makes attribution so difficult is, oddly, not the lack of pattern numbers or maker’s marks, though, clearly these don’t help. What makes it hard is the non-conformity of style, paste, design, glaze, shape and pattern between these pieces and other contemporary named pieces.

Current thinking is that Teapot 1 is probably A & E Keeling (formerly known as Factory X). Its hybrid paste and format putting it 1795-1800

Teapot 2 appears in Michael Berthoud’s second Teapot reference book (A Directory of British Teapots) as Plate 608 however the attribution to Turner is speculative and open, still, to debate (especially by at least one Turner collector).

Even more difficult to identify, it has also been suggested that it was an experimental piece of porcelain – certainly no other with this combination of spout and handle is known in hybrid paste. At one point it was mooted that it might be a Haynes experiment involving Rogers – but no corroborative documentation has been found.

My belief is that one of the teabowls and the saucer below may well have been made by the same factory as Teapot 2 (if not decorated by the same decorator).