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Bow Porcelain

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A Major Watershed

Posted by Ross and Gael Ramsay on March 11, 2013 at 4:35 AM

In our joint publication on the Limehouse porcelain manufactory we demonstrate that our understanding of the development of English porcelains underwent a major watershed during the early years of this millennium with the recognition that by the early to mid-1740s the Bow porcelain manufactory was producing a commercial, hard-paste porcelain using a china clay (Cherokee clay) imported from the New World.


Concomitant with this has been the re-examination of many notions and beliefs that have sustained English ceramic studies over the last 100 years or so. It is now recognised that the 1744 ceramic patent of Heylyn and Frye, far from being hesitant, experimental, or not worth the paper it was written on, is in fact a highly significant document in English ceramic history. 


In addition it is now realised that William Cookworthy was not the first to fire a hard-paste body, that Bow was operating much earlier than recognised to date using a range of ceramic recipes, and the pre-eminent position previously enjoyed by Chelsea needs to be reassessed. This contribution on the Limehouse manufactory continues this enquiry, further establishes the leading position played by Bow, and develops the arguments initiated by Pat Daniels as to the importance of both the Royal Society of London and rational English science and technology back to the 17th Century in the development of the English porcelain industry.

Copies of this monograph on Limehouse (The Limehouse Porcelain Factory; its output, antecedents & the influence of the Royal Society of London on the evolution of English porcelain based on composition and technology) may be obtained from:


Reference Works (P&D) Ltd,

9 Commercial Road,

Swanage, Dorset, England, BH19 1DF

Phone: + 44 (0)1929 424423

Email: Sales@referenceworks.co.uk

Categories: Important Discoveries