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Bow Porcelain

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Three major groups of English Porcelains

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on October 24, 2020 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Today we look at three significant groups of English porcelains whose pre-eminence has all too often been inversely proportional to the level of scholarship afforded each group.

The first group is the so-called 'A'-marked group. Recent research by us (Ramsay and Ramsay, 2017) draws attention that not all 'A'-marked wares may accord with the 1744 patent specification of Heylyn and Frye. Possibly a better name to recognise those porcelains made using Cherokee clay imported fro...

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A False 'Limehouse' shell dish

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on October 24, 2020 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A False 'Limehouse' shell dish

Pickle dish, 'false Limehouse', England. Soft-paste magnesian-phosphatic (Mg-P) porcelain. Ex Godden Collection (Bonhams, May 2011, Sale 19105, Lot 254).

Excavations on the Limehouse site at 20 Fore Street in 1990 have recognised two compositional variants amongst the wasters recovered, namely a Si-Al type and a Si-Al-Ca type. More recently, further w...

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A Fluted Porcelain Coffee Cup

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on May 23, 2020 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This small fluted porcelain cup standing 5.7 cm high is part of a small group of English porcelains numbering some 45 extant examples known as the 'A'-marked group or more correctly members of the 1744 Heylyn and Frye patent. We would suggest that this small group is arguably the most significant group of 18th C English porcelains based on a number of criteria.

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The Development of Early English Porcelain

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on January 2, 2018 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Of late there has been a shift in the study of early English and American ceramics, in that science is being used in a more routine manner to answer questions about attribution, dating, raw materials, and kiln-firing techniques. One such example is the work of Jay, Cashion, and Blenkinship (2015) in regard to Lancaster delftware and the recognition of the use of Carrickfergus magnesian clay in that ceramic body. Another example is the work by Owen and Hanley (2017) in the recreation of Bartla...

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Early English Porcelains of the 17th Century

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on January 12, 2016 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Posted by Ross Ramsay on January .......

Predicated on our new research contribution (Number 19) presented to the English Ceramic Circle in London, November 21st, we are proposing that the English porcelain tradition can be traced to its infancy with the firing of refractory ceramics in the Blackwater Valley and Stamford dating back to the 16thC if not before. A major advance in our understanding of this development was the work of Morgan Wesley on the Burghley House jars pu...

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The Use of Soapstone in Early English Porcelains

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on June 15, 2015 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)


With the discovery of the Limehouse porcelain site in 1990 these porcelains have become prominent with auction houses, dealers, and collectors. Prior to the Limehouse excavation the consensus was that the first use of soapstone in English porcelains lay with Benjamin Lund at Bristol. This belief was based on the soapstone licence awarded Lund in early 1749, the observations by Richard Pococke, and the chemical analyses by Eccles and Rackham in 1922. However, with the ...

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Lund's Bristol Porcelain

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on April 25, 2014 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)


In this publication (Ramsay, Ramsay, and Girvan, 2011) we recognize that Benjamin Lund used bone ash in part of his porcelain production. This combination of bone ash and soapstone has been traced by us back to Bow where it was being used by at least early 1745, if not earlier. Research into porcelain wasters at Warmstry House, Worcester by Victor Owen has demonstrated the presence of a Mg-P body in early Worcester material. Technology pathways, as initially employed by Owen and ...

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Our Journey into Bow Porcelain

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on March 11, 2014 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to our Bow porcelain web site where we list and discuss our research into early English porcelains. Some 14 years ago when we were living on the old gold mining centre of Ballarat, out of Melbourne, a good colleague, Pat Daniels, urged us to consider chemically analysing a sequence of porcelains through the Bow output from (as we thought at the time) the late 1740s to around 1774.  Likewise in the 1990s we also considered that Bow made only phosphatic (bone ash) wares. Up to that...

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New Thinking on the Early Development of English Porcelains

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on February 17, 2014 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Posted by Ross Ramsay on January 23rd, 2014


    This update on our collective thoughts is based on two monographs we have published during 2013.

1.    Ramsay, W. H. H., Daniels, P., & Ramsay E. G., 2013: The Limehouse Porcelain Factory: It’s Output, Antecedents, & the Influence of the Royal Society of London on the Evolution of English Porcelain based on Composition and Technology. 42 pp. ISBN: 978-0-473-23459-1...

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The Ceramic Busts of George II

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on October 6, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

From the time of their manufacture these splendid porcelain busts of King George II have been a source of continual controversy. One of the most significant achievements of early English porcelain, they have been the subject of discussions as to the ceramic recipe of the paste and glaze; the motivation behind their manufacture; the age of the King as depicted and also the time, origin and place of production.


In order to decipher the original intention behind th...

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