THE TALE OF A COUNTRY VILLAGE
COLLECTORS’ PLATE SET OF 12
BY ROBERT HERSEY
COALPORT FINE BONE CHINA
MADE IN ENGLAND |
DECORATIVE PLATES |
DECOR | COLLECTABLES |
LIFESTYLE | VILLAGE
Plate Diameter: Approx 21.5 cm
between about 1795 (“inaccurately” claimed as 1750 by the company) and 1926,
with the Coalport porcelain brand continuing to be used up to the present.
The opening in 1792 of the Coalport Canal,
which joins the River Severn at Coalport,
had increased the attractiveness of the site,
and from 1800 until a merger in 1814 there were two factories operating,
one on each side of the canal,
making rather similar wares which are now often difficult to tell apart.
Both factories made mostly tablewares that had elaborate overglaze decoration,
mostly with floral subjects.
A further round of mergers in 1819 brought moulds and skilled staff
which continued to thrive through the rest of the century.
The Coalport factory was founded by John Rose in 1795;
he continued to run it successfully until his death in 1841.
The company often sold its wares as Coalbrookdale porcelain,
especially the pieces with flowers modelled in three dimensions,
and they may be called Coalport China.
Rose employed William Billingsley, formerly at Nantgarw,
as chief painter, and Billingsley’s chemist, Walker,
who initiated at Coalport a maroon glaze
and brought the Nantgarw technical recipes to Rose at Coalport.
Coalport and Coalbrookdale specialised in dinner services.
The familiar “Indian tree” pattern,
which is based in fact on Chinese rather than Indian prototypes,
was originated at Coalport;
variants have been produced by virtually all the British manufacturers
of table wares and continue to be available today.
in the mid-19th century, sometimes with misleading marks,
“a practice which ought to have been avoided”,
Sprigged floral encrusted decoration was also typical of Coalport wares,
such as vases, small boxes and table baskets.
In 1820 Rose received the gold medal of the Society of Arts
for his feldspar porcelain and an improved, lead-free glaze,
with which the enamel colours fused in firing.
Favourite patterns were the “worm sprig” and the “Tournai sprig”
introduced by Billingsley at Pinxton,
the Dresden-inspired “Berlin china edge”,
During the 1830s the factory initiated the practice
of applying a light transfer printed blue outline, to guide the painters.
This preserved some of the freedom of hand-painted decoration,
while it enabled Rose to keep up the pace of production.
The technique was widely adopted by other manufactories during the 19th century.
At The Great Exhibition (London 1851)
an elaborate Coalport table service with deep borders of mazarin blue was shown;
In the second half of the 19th century the Coalport manufacturers
added yet another specialisation to their repertoire of hand decorated porcelains.
They developed the technique called “jewelling”
whereby small beads of coloured enamel
were applied most often to a gold ground.
According to the auctioneers Skinner Inc,
it is thought this was first developed and introduced
by the Worcester porcelain factory in the mid 1860s.
Turquoise seemed to be the prevalent colour,
meticulously and uniformly decorating tea wares,
useful wares and ornamental wares,
often accompanied by a rich raised gold decoration.
They were produced for sale in Britain and abroad.
The Coalport porcelain manufactory,
was founded by the practical and enterprising John Rose in 1795.
Financial support was provided by Edward Blakeway (1720-1811).
John Rose had probably trained at the Caughley porcelain manufactory,
less than a mile away on the other side of the Severn,
a mile upstream across the Severn from Coalbrookdale,
since about 1793.
In 1799 Rose took over the Caughley factory,
continuing production there, at least of the biscuit stage,
moving the wares to be decorated at Coalport.
From 1800-1814 Rose’s brother Thomas
operated a small works on the other side of the canal,
initially with William Reynolds (d. 1803), an industrialist, and Robert Horton.
After Reynolds’ death his cousin Robert Anstice became a partner.
They were taken over by J. Rose & Co. in 1814
The same year John Rose moved the Caughley production
the short distance to the Coalport site.
Rose’s rapid success enabled him to buy the Nantgarw porcelain manufactory in 1819
John Rose died in 1841;
the enterprise was continued under the former name “John Rose & Co.”
by his nephew W.F. Rose and William Pugh.
William Pugh continued the production as sole proprietor
from 1862 until his death in 1875,
after which the company was put in receivership by his heirs.
who reinstated it as the Coalport China Company.
Under the management of his son Charles Bruff from 1889,
an extensive export trade to the United States and Canada was initiated in the 1890s,
and the works were rebuilt on the original site in 1902.
During the 1920s it fell again into financial difficulties
and was eventually taken over by the Cauldon Potteries, Ltd.,
In 1926 production moved to Staffordshire,
the traditional centre of the ceramics industry in Britain,
and, although the Coalport name was retained as a brand,
Llewellynn Jewitt published a History of the Coalport Porcelain Works in 1862.
The standard modern monographic history is
Geoffrey A. Godden, Coalport and Coalbrookdale Porcelain (London 1970).
The original manufactory buildings now houses the Coalport China Museum,
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