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Bow Porcelain

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Bow Porcelain Research Topics 11-15

11) DANIELS, P., & RAMSAY, W. R. H.,2009. Bow porcelain: New primary source documents and evidence pertaining to the early years of the manufactory between 1730 – 1747, and John Campbell’s letter to Arthur Dobbs. Southern Institute of Technology Journal of Applied Research (SITJAR) NZ.

Such has been the dominance of the notion of the artistic pursuit (form, decoration, potting) over and above other legitimate forms of enquiry that a Bow attribution for the 1744 patent porcelains and the patent document itself are being denied by some contemporary writers, who refer to both as ‘precursor Bow’. Using previously unpublished, primary source, contemporary documents the authors propose that a letter written by John Campbell of Lazy Hill plantation, Bertie Co, North Carolina is one of the most important items of correspondence in English ceramic history. Inexplicably, although this letter discusses and names Bow, its white clay, and its china ware production based on a site visit by Campbell, it does appear that this fragmentary correspondence has never been read in its entirety nor placed in its correct historical context by anyone prior to Daniels (2007) since it was reported on by Toppin in 1959. This research supports Daniels (2007), who dates the letter to around April 1745. Based on Campbell’s movements on either side of the Atlantic using unpublished material, the latest he could have been on the Bow site was mid 1742 and more likely late 1739 if not before. It is argued that contemporary documents have a highly significant role in ceramic research and based on this paper it now appears that the chronology of the early Bow porcelain output needs to be reassessed.

12) RAMSAY, W. R. H., & RAMSAY E. G., 2009.
North Carolina Cherokee clay and early English porcelain. Talk given to the San Francisco Ceramic Circle December 20th, 2009.

13) RAMSAY, W. R. H., SUTTON, K., & RAMSAY E. G., 2011: Bow porcelain: Glaze compositions associated with the phosphatic wares ~1742-1774.

Glaze compositions taken from a transect of the Bow phosphatic output c. 1742-1774 are presented. It is shown that the Bow glaze composition is highly distinctive and hardly changed over some 30 years. With time there was a minor reduction in PbO relative to SiO2.What does emerge is that we now have an additional discriminant to separate early Bow compositions (phosphatic, high clay, steatitic) from wares made at later factories such as Lund’s Bristol and Worcester. Bow glazes have attracted considerable comment as to their visual appearance, especially those glazes associated with early wares. Our research based on the current elemental detection levels used in this paper suggests that such visual appearances may be non-diagnostic and of more significance are a number of visually obvious body types which allow a better understanding of the development of the Bow concern dating from the 1730′s. A copy of this paper can be downloaded here.

14) RAMSAY, W. R. H., RAMSAY, E. G., & GIRVAN, L., 2011: Lund’s Bristol porcelain……and both are called fine ornamental white china.

Copies of this monograph will be available in June 2013 from:-

Barry Lamb                                                       
Reference Works (P&D) Ltd
9 Commercial Road,
Swanage, Dorset, England, BH19 1DF
Phone: + 44 (0) 1929 424423
Email: Sales@referenceworks.co.uk

This paper elucidates the range of body and glaze compositions used by Benjamin Lund at Bristol. Recipes included steatite, bone ash, glass cullet and crushed silica. A study of attributions based on objective science is now able to commence reattributing wares to Lund’s Bristol formerly thought to be Limehouse, Broad Street Worcester, early Warmstry House, Worcester and even an example regarded as a ‘fake’. Moreover the use of technology pathways allows for insights into factory linkages which might not be obvious based on stylistic features. A copy of this paper may be downloaded here.


15)  RAMSAY, W. R. H., DANIELS, P., & RAMSAY, E. G., 2013. 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 pathways. Published privately, Invercargill, NZ. ISBN: 978-0-473-23459-1.

Three porcelain compositions attributed to the Limehouse porcelain manufactory are recognised and both body and glaze compositions of each are presented. Two of these compositions have been identified for the last 20 years, namely the silica-aluminium (Si-Al) and the silica-aluminium-calcium (Si-Al-Ca) bodies, whilst a third composition of the magnesium-phosphorus (Mg-P) type is newly documented and is tentatively attributed to Limehouse. Criteria to distinguish visually these three ceramic types are provided and a compositional stratigraphy for the Limehouse output is erected extending from late 1745 - early 1748. Preliminary results are presented which allow the compositional differentiation of Limehouse porcelains from Lund's Bristol and a discussion on technology pathways linking Bow to Limehouse and thence to Lund's Bristol and Worcester is given. Limehouse, far from being innovative, was in fact highly derivative at several levels both from Bow and earlier experimental firings, commissioned by members of the Royal Society of London dating back to the beginning of the 18th Century, if not earlier. We recognise that porcelain development in England was much more indigenous, diverse, and complicated  than may have been realised to date in that the presence of  high-fired Si-Al-Ca and Si-Al bodies coupled with the inferred use of china clay predate Meissen by some 30 years. This grand tradition in porcelain development based on rational English experimental science and technology has remained largely opaque to previous ceramic studies over the last 150 years predicated on the notion of the primacy of the artistic pursuit. In fact, as at least three recipe types used by English porcelain makers are unique, one wonders how any foreign technology could have influenced this development.

In addition to discussing the new scientific work and its impact on the chronological development of early English porcelains, documentary evidence surrounding the establishment of the Limehouse Factory is reviewed in an attempt to determine the extent of its operating period and its place within the associated technology. Evidence discovered in parish registers, land tax assessments, insurances, letters, and newspaper advertisements recorded by earlier researchers and one or two recent discoveries not yet in the ceramic literature are co-ordinated, presented in chronological order, and evaluated.