Listed are a number of talks which we are able to deliver relating to Bow porcelains and the birth of the English porcelain industry.
Please CONTACT US to negotiate arrangements should any of the topics be of interest.
6. Hard-paste porcelain development in England:
This talk investigates the concept of hard-paste porcelain. A history of the manufacture of hard-paste wares dating from the 6th and 7th centuries is presented and a number of criteria, previously used to support the notion of hard-paste, are discussed. It is noted that the Western concept of ‘true hard-paste’ reflects an accident of both geography and timing. Features including mineralogy, use of natural materials, visual appearance, resistance to thermal shock, and refractory body are examined and it is argued that William Cookworthy was not the first to fire hard-paste porcelains in England during the 18th century.
7. Saving English ceramic scholarship from connoisseurship:
Early ceramic practitioners such as Heylyn, Crisp, Wedgwood, and Cookworthy were vitally concerned with composition and ceramic recipes (materials science) and less so with shapes of handles and decorative idioms. In contrast the rise of connoisseurship in the study of English porcelains is essentially a phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries. We discuss the contribution made by each approach to our understanding of English porcelains and we conclude that subjective connoisseurship (…..special effects of reflected light on glazed surfaces) needs to be more broadly based in order to sustain ceramic scholarship through the 21st century.
8. New developments in our understanding of English porcelains:
We examine many of the beliefs and notions relating to English porcelains which have been built up over the last 150 years and suggest that our current understanding now requires a major re-examination and re-assessment. We commence with the long-held concept dating back to Nightingale in 1881that Chelsea ……..was incontestably the most important, both artistically and otherwise of any of the English manufactories, and then we examine a number of mind sets and articles of faith that have for many years acted as cornerstones in English ceramic studies.
9. Bow first patent porcelains – Cinderella in English ceramics:
Here we trace the history of this brilliant group of hard-paste porcelains since its recognition as a coherent assemblage in the 1930s and examine the reasons why these stellar porcelains have been so misunderstood and marginalised for the last 70 years. We conclude that English ceramic scholarship can only ‘come of age’ once these “Cinderella” porcelains are recognised, accepted, and factored in to the rich tapestry of British ceramic development and history.
10. The early use of steatite and bone ash in early English porcelains:
As a result of a number of chemical analyses of both body and glaze of early English porcelains (Bow, Limehouse, Lund’s Bristol, and early Warmstry House, Worcester) it is now possible to identify the types of wares made at each concern using steatite and/or bone ash and to recognise technological pathways stemming from Bow. It can be demonstrated that the dogma that Bow made only phosphatic wares commencing around 1748 is incorrect and this has held up our understanding of the development of the English porcelain industry.