Notebook, 1993-


POTTERY AND PORCELAIN - Glossary - A List of Museums and Galleries - Ceramics - [A materials resource site with links]

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Celadon. A glaze ranging in colour from olive-green to sea-green. Celadon from Lung Ch'üan form one of the classic wares of the Sung dynasty. The term, celadon, is a corruption of Salah-ed-din [Saldin], Sultan of Egypt who, in 1171 sent forty pieces of this Chinese ware as a gift to Nur-ed-din, Sultan of Damascus. A less credible explanation is that a shepherd in Honoré d'Urfé's 17th-c. romance, L'Astrée, whose name was Céladon, wore a costume of greyish-green colour somewhat resembling that of the glaze of this name. Celadons were especially sought in the Near East in the days of Saladin because they were reputed to break, or change colour, if poisoned food was placed in them, and relatively few specimens found their way to the West until much later. Until the 18th c. celadon glazes covered stoneware bodies; during the 18th c. the glaze was also employed on porcelain. The colour was derived from iron, usually by washing the body over with a ferruginous slip before glazing, followed by firing in a reducing atmosphere. There are literary references to the earliest type of celadon made at Yüeh Chou as far back as the third c., but specimens surviving are hardly older than the Sung dynasty. The glaze is greyish-green in colour over a grey stoneware body, and incised or carved decoration is the invariable rule. Fragments resembling Yüeh ware have been found at Samarra. The origin of the Northern celadons is still uncertain, but specimens have been found in Honan and Korea, and the incised, combed and moulded decorations suggest affinities with both Ting and Ying Ch'ng wares. The body is a grey hard-fired stone-ware, with a glaze olive-brown in colour which is usually crazed. The finest of the Sung dynasty celadons were made at Lung Ch'üan. The body is hard-fired greyish white stoneware, and the glaze colour is variable, from sea-green to a greyish-green. Where the [p. 485] body is unglazed it has burned to a reddish brown, especially on the foot, and this effect was sometimes used as a form of decoration, when dragons in relief on the upper surface were left unglazed to form a contrast with the green glaze. The glaze itself is thick, and hazy with minute bubbles. By far the greater number of surviving wares are dishes, large and heavily potted, which were nade in enormous quantities for export. A type of celadon, usually small bottles and vases, has brownish spots on a green glaze. These the Japanese call tobi seiji ['buck-wheat' celadon]. Also popular in Japan was a type of bluish-green celadon known as Kinuta; Kinuta means 'mallet', and this is the shape of a famous vase preserved in Japan. Large vases carved with floral and foliate ornament belong to the Yüan dynasty; a dated example is in the Sir Percival David Collection, London. The kilns of Lung Ch'üan were removed to Chu Chou early in the Ming dynasty, where dishes were produced with floral decorations stylistically similar to the early Ming painted dishes. Probably made at a kiln in the region of Lung ChÍÄan is a ware known as Ko, which has a dark body, a greyish glaze, and a well marked crackle. [See Kuan.]

Chaffers, William. Editor of the famous works Marks and Monograms on Pottery and Porcelain, first published in 1863. He was responsible for the error by which a great quantity of Chinese porcelain was ascribed to the English Lowestoft factory. At this distance of time it seems strange that such a mistake ever should have occurred, and even stranger that some of the greatest ceramic experts of the period should have joined the argument, and produced complicated theories that were no less remote from the truth.

Chai ware. A ware made at Ching Chou [Honan Province] and known from Chinese literary sources. It was made during the short period of the Five Dynasties. Its colour, wrote an 18th c. commentator, was 'blue as heaven after rain seen through a rift in the clouds'. A stoneware pillow in the Sir Percival David Collection bears an incised poem by the emperor Ch'ien Lung calling it Chai ware, but it is virtually indistinguishable from ChÄn.

Champion, Richard. See Bristol.

Chelsea [soft-paste porcelain] [1745-84]. The finest and most significant English 18th-c. porcelain. The earliest wares ['triangle' period: see Marks] were of a milk-white glassy porcelain showing 'moons'. They were often left white and decorated only with molding, frequently closely imitating silverware. Small flower sprays to conceal blemishes in the paste, and occasionally rather stiff 'botanical' flowers drawn in Meissen style were sometimes added in enamel. In the succeeding 'raised anchor' phase [see Marks] the use of painted decoration was greatly extended, the Japanese Kakiemon manner being much copied. Meissen porcelain inspired other decorative styles; these include a more developed flower painting and harbour scenes [to which are related Æsop's Fables subjects]. A warm brown is characteristic. The extremely rare transfer prints were perhaps done at the Battersea enamel factory. Figures are rare--mainly dwarf-like ['Callot'] or Italian Comedy types, characterized by bright-red cheeks. Bird figures were suggested by Meissen. From 1749 at latest Chelsea was managed by Nicholas Sprimont [1716-71], a silversmith from Li¶ge, and the continuity of the Chelsea style is unbroken in the succeeding 'red anchor' period. In this period the repertory and skill of the Chelsea painters were increased to include figures and landscapes in purple monochrome; 'botanical' flowers copied from illustrated herbals or even from nature; polychrome figural compositions derived through Meissen from the French masters. Underglaze blue was used, but rarely. Characteristic of the useful wares were three small projecting 'spur marks' within a ground-down foot rim. Tureens and dishes [p. 486] simulating birds, animals, vegetables, etc., were much favoured. Most notable, however, were the very numerous figures. Their subjects may be roughly divided into mythological and 'abstract' [e.g. sciences, seasons]; trades, hunting and pastoral life; Italian Comedy characters and 'exotics' [e.g. Turks, Chinese]. They are superbly modelled and sparingly coloured, so as to reveal the beautiful porcelain material. A plain mound base is normal. Mainly of this period also were the 'Chelsea toys'--tiny étuis, scent bottles, patchboxes, etc., exquisitely modelled and painted, and showing a rich fancy in the invention of [mostly amorous] conceits. In 1758 bone ash was introduced in the Chelsea body. The frequently 'crazed' glaze tends to run into greenish glassy pools; the grinding of foot rims persisted. This 'gold anchor' period is marked by ever-increasing sumptuousness. Coloured grounds [royal or 'Mazarin' blue, pea green, turquoise, and claret] were copied from Sèvres, and gilding was lavishly used. Elaborate rococo scrollwork was used on figures and vases, etc. The painters' repertory was enlarged to include elaborate mythological scenes after Boucher or Rubens, or Pillement chinoiseries; 'exotic' birds in polychrome enamels on white or in gilding on a ground were inspired by Sèvres; groups of fruit became favourite subjects. The Kakiemon subjects were discarded, but Japanese patterns resembling elaborate textile designs ['brocaded Imari'] continued in favour. In figure modeling a broader style and a larger scale were introduced. Elaborate bocages were made and the figures were richly and elaborately painted and gilt. In 1769 the factory and its contents were sold, in 1770 passing into the possession of Wm Duesbury and John Heath, of Derby. MARKS: 1 left, incised [c. 1745-50]; 2, in relief [c. 1749-53]; 3, in red [c. 1753-60], in gold [c. 1758-69]; 'R', impressed, a repairer's mark [c. 1760-5].

Ch'èng Hua period [1465-87]. The rarest porcelains of this classic reign employ coloured enamels over sparing underglaze blue outlines [tou ts'ai enamels]; and this style was much imitated from the seventeenth century. The blue-and-white 'palace bowls' were more slightly potted and decorated than previously. The reign mark is much used on later wares.

Chesterfield [Derbyshire]. Brown stoneware pottery, second half of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Chia Ching period [1522-66]. Ming reign noted for painted blue-and-white of rich violet tone, and the development of brilliantly coloured enamel painting, chiefly in red, green, yellow, and turquoise. Coloured glazes, too, were used, sometimes in combination [e.g. yellow and green], covering incised designs 'on the biscuit'. Heavily potted blue-and-white jars and dishes were much exported to the Near East. The reign mark was used in K'ang Hsi times.

Chia Ch'ing period [1796-1820]. In this period the later Ch'ien Lung styles continued, but with poorer glaze and less lively drawing in enamelled wares. Iron-red enamelling was popular, and heavily potted wares with thick blue or celadon-green glazes may be mentioned.

Ch'ien Lung. During the reign of this emperor, who was on the throne from 1736 to 1796 and who abdicated at the advanced age of eighty-six, was produced much of the porcelain decorated to the order of Europeans. The Emperor Ch'ien Lung was a noted patron of the arts, and encouraged the making of porcelain in his country. He was interested in Western culture, and there is no doubt that he encouraged the making of many pieces of china based on the design of French articles sent as presents to Peking from the King of France, or ordered from Paris by the Jesuits at the command of the Emperor.

Chien ware. This production of Fukien Province during the Sung dynasty consisted principally of small conical tea bowls. A very granula grey-black stoneware, with thick treacly brown or black glazes, often streaked with fine golden lines ['hare's fur'], or spotted and dappled, was arrested above the foot. These effects result from the varied response of iron to kiln conditions. Known to the Japanese as temmoku ware. Other brown and black wares from Kiangsi, Honan, or Tzû Chou, have a lighter body.

Chill. Earthenware oil lamp shaped like a large candlestick with lipped cup large enough to hold two cups of 'train' [pilchard oil], used in Cornwall before candles. Sometimes rendered Stonen Chill.

China clay. A white-burning natural clay [kaolin] used with china stone [petuntse] to produce true porcelain. It was the unaker of the Cherokees, found on the back of Virginia' and through the Carolinas, into Georgia. Wedgwood imported 'the Cherokee earth', and in 1777 wrote to his partner saying that 'it is really used in all the Jaspers'.

'China' dogs. Mantelpiece ornaments in the form of spaniels, Welsh sheepdogs, French poodles, greyhounds, etc., made in earthenware, and sold extensively in Wales and the West Country. Made by Sampson Smith, James Dudson, William Kent, and many others in Staffordshire and Scotland; rarely marked.

China 'Imari'. Imitations of the Japanese export porcelain, with strong decoration in greyish underglaze blue and enamel colours, especially iron red, and prominent gilding; made in the first half of the eighteenth century.

China stone. Feldspar, decomposed granite [petuntse]. Fuses at great heat, combining with china clay to produce porcelain.

Chinese export porcelain. Decoration: 1650. The earliest designs on Chinese export porcelain were of a religious character. The blue-and-white pieces, dating from this time, painted with religious scenes and emblems, are the subject of some argument as to whether they were made for use by Christian converts in China and Japan rather than for export to the West. 1700. Still with decoration in blue are cups, saucers, etc., painted with European figures, and inscriptions in French. Coloured figures were made. 1723. At about this time the first pieces painted with English and other coats-of-arms in colours began to be made in quantities. In these early importations the coat-of-arms is usually of a large size with elaborate mantling. [Mantling: the scrollwork, etc., surrounding the actual coat-of-arms.] Schwarzlot decoration, especially of religious subjects, was also exported. 1750. The coat-of-arms grew smaller and the mantling was simplified. [p. 487] 1770. The coat-of-arms was usually in a simple shield. 1790. The coat-of-arms was in a spade-shaped shield, and the rest of the piece is plainly decorated with the gold star, or some similar bordering. The surface of the china is often of the texture of an orange skin. In contrast, the complicated Mandarin patterns were also being made. 1825. Butterflies and flowers painted on a celadon-green ground were becoming popular, the so-called Canton style. MARKS: Marks are not generally to be found on Chinese porcelain made for export. Two pieces of blue-and-white in the Victoria and Albert Museum are marked; a bottle bears a capital G and beneath a plate is the word 'Bevere'. A pattern plate bears the name Syngchong on the back. There is a plate, also in the same museum, inscribed Canton in China 24th Jany. 1791 [see Syngchong].

'Chinese Lowestoft'. A misnomer for Chinese export porcelain.

Ch'ing dynasty [1644-1912] reign marks. [See opp.]

Ching'tê Chên. The town situated on the south bank of the River Ch'ang, where pottery and porcelain has been made, almost without cessation, for many centuries. In the early years of the eighteenth century the population ran to a million persons, all of whom were employed, it was stated, in the production of porcelain that was fired in some three thousand kilns. Rare Ching'tê Chên porcelain figures are those with famille verte or early famille rose enamelling. Fine models of birds and animals decorated with coloured glazes were made during the eighteenth century, and especially those in turquoise have been imitated.

Chinoiserie. Fantastic decoration in gold, silver, or colours, depicting an exotic world with Chinese figures, surrounded by flowers, birds, and animals, attending court ceremonies or pursuing such diversions as are centred around the tea table. These decorations were in no way indebted to Oriental sources, but to European engravings and travelogues published in Holland and Germany in the second half of the seventeenth century and later. The Augsburg Hausmaler of the early eighteenth century developed a distinct style of Goldchinesen, occasionally in silver, whereas Johann Gregor Herold, at Meissen, preferred to work in bright colours from his own etched designs. A later type of chinoiserie adopted in the 1730s shows larger figures of Europeans in Chinese guise, taken from French sources, including Pillement, Watteau, and Boucher.

Christening goblets. Footed four-handled loving cups with whistles attached for calling for replenishment, especially associated with Wiltshire, and used for christening, harvest homes, etc. A favourite inscription is HERE IS THE GEST OF THE BARLY KORNE GLAD HAM I THE CILD IS BORN. Dates from 1603 until 1799 recorded.

Chü-lu Hsien ware. A white ware made during the Sung dynasty at Chü-lu Hsien in Chihli Province, not far from Tzû Chou. The principal survivals are jars and vases in a cream-coloured stoneware which sometimes have a stained and crazed glaze as a result of burial.

Chün ware. Ware made at Chün Chou in Honan Province during the Sung and Ming dynasties. The glaze varies in colour from lavender to opalescent blue and it is often suffused or splashed with reddish-purple. The body is a stoneware, brown where unglazed, and the glaze finishes in a roll just above the base. The glaze is thick and full of minute bubbles, and here and there are small marks shaped like a V or a Y which the Chinese call 'earthworm tracks' and regard as a sign of genuineness. They result from the opening of a fissure in the glaze in the early stages of firing which closed in the later stages. Bowls of characteristic form, flower-pots, bulb-bowls, and stands are the most often seen, and Chinese numerals [from 1 to 10] incised into the base of flower-pots refer to the size. 'Soft Chün has a similar glaze, but the body has received a 'softer' firing. The glaze itself is often [p. 488] denser, more inclined to be opaque, and crackled. The body is buff in colour. Most specimens are of Ming date, and the earliest are doubtfully Sung. 'Fatshan' Chün comes from Kuangung Province in the south, in the region of Canton. The glaze is thick and dappled wth a number of colours which give it a resemblance to Chün. Specimens are hardly likely to be earlier than Ming, and some seem no earlier than the nineteenth century. [See Reducing atmosphere.]

'Church Gresley'. A factory was apparently working at Church Gresley, Leicestershire, 1794-1808, but its porcelain remains virtually unidentified.

Clair-de-lune. See Blue glazes.

'Claret' ground. See Chelsea, Worcester.

Clay. Special plastic earths of varying grades and colours, from coarse red-burning clay fit for bricks or tile making to the blue clays required for stoneware, the fine white kaolin used for porcelains.

Cloisonné ware. Enamelled metal on which the colours of the design are separated by thin metal cloisons. A similar technique employing clay cloisons was used in the Ming 'three-colour' pottery.

'C' mark. See Caughley.

Coalport [soft-paste porcelain]. John Rose started a pottery at Jackfield about 1780, and shortly afterwards moved it to Coalport [Shropshire] almost opposite the Caughley factory, acquired in 1709. The Swansea and Nantgarw moulds and stocks were bought up [1819-24], and W. Billingsley's services obtained [1819]. The Coalport porcelain, previously indistinguishable from that of Caughley, became white and translucent like the Welsh porcelain. Billingsley's style of flower painting was introduced, but much Coalport porcelain was painted by independent decorator s. The 'revived rococo' style at Coalport [c. 1830] was characterized by lavishly applied flowers, bright green enamel, light-coloured gilding, and flower decoration with pink-printed outlines washed over in colours. Coalport copied Chelsea porcelain. MARKS: the name, or script 'CD', in blue.

Cockpit Hill, Derby. Probably made slipwares, early eighteenth century; from c. 1751 to 1779 Staffordshire-type pottery, latterly printed creamware.

Codnor Park. See Bourne & Co.

Combed slip. A technique in which a marbled or feathered effect is achieved by brushing together, while wet, two or more different-coloured slips.

Compagnie dessin [French: Company pattern]. The French name for porcelain made to European order in the Far East, and imported by the Compagnie des Indes, the French East India Company.

Contour framing. A method of emphasizing a design by means of a line following the edge, but leaving a white margin.

Cooksworthy, William. See Plymouth.

Copeland. See Spode.

Costrel. Flat, circular bottle with loop handles for suspension from the shoulder, used by field workers.

Cottages. Used as night-light shields, pastille burners, and mantelpiece ornaments. The latter frequently represent the scenes of sensational crimes, such as the Red Barn at Polstead [Maria Marten] or Stanfield Hall [the Rush murders]. Porcelain models were made at Rockingham, but probably far more frequently in Staffordshire, mainly second quarter of the nineteenth century. [p. 489]

Cow milk jug. Model of cow with mouth and tail forming spout and handle. Filled from an aperture in the back. Based upon a Dutch model introduced into England about 1755. Made in Staffordshire, South Wales, Yorkshire, and Scotland.

Crackle. French, craquelure. The formation of a fine network of cracks over the surface of a glaze is, in European wares, a defect which is caused by a disagreement in the rate of shrinkage between body and glaze during cooling. From the Sung dynasty onwards the Chinese induced an effect of this kind deliberately as a form of decoration, and to a considerable extent they were able to control it. Usually the appearance was enhanced by red or black pigment rubbed into the cracks. Crackle decoration is to be found on such Sung dynasty wares as Ju, Kuan, and Ko, or on archaizing wares made later, notably during the reign of the emperor, Yung Chêng. The Chinese distinguish between a large, bold, crackle, termed 'crab's claw', and a much closer and smaller network termed 'fish roe' crackle. The former developed first, and was accentuated with black pigment: the latter, developing at a later stage, was coloured red. Crazing of the glaze of some excavated wares, such as those of Chû-lu Hsien, are not, of course, intentional, but the result of burial.

Cradle. Presentation piece for a newly married couple, having the same significance as the La Fécondité dish. Slipware specimens recorded from 1673 until 1839. Used as a hold-all or pipe tray.

Cream-coloured earthenware or Creamware. A lead-glazed earthenware with light body made of pale clay and usually containing calcined flint, perfected in Staffordshire about 1740-50. It began to oust other tablewares about 1760. It was made extensively in Staffordshire, Yorkshire, and elsewhere, and enjoyed a world market in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It could be decorated with pierced, moulded, enamelled, or printed designs. It was the most mentioned of American imports, their potters constantly claiming to equal the English.

Crescent mark. See Bow, Caughley, Worcester.

Crich [Derbyshire]. Brown stoneware pottery, second half of eighteenth century and perhaps earlier.

Cross mark. See Bristol [hard-paste porcelain], Plymouth, Worcester.

'Crouch' ware. Staffordshire ware said to have been made before the mid-eighteenth century, sometimes wrongly identified with stoneware having white reliefs on a drab ground. Perhaps a variegated stoneware or an earthenware imitating it. 'Crouch' ware is sometimes identified with 'Crich'.

'CT' mark. See Bow.

Cuckoo. Bird call in the form of a large spotted bird perched upon a fence with four smaller birds. Commonly made in slipware, nineteenth century.

Daggermark. See Bow.

Daniel, Ralph. A Staffordshire potter credited with the introduction, before 1750, of plaster-of-Paris moulds, and with being the first English enameller of salt-glazed stoneware.

Davenport. Family of potters at Longport [Staffordshire]. From 1793 made cream-coloured and other earthenware, and, from the early nineteenth century, porcelain. MARKS: an anchor or 'Davenport', sometimes both.

Delftware. Earthenware coated with a glaze made opaque by the addition of tin ashes, named after Delft in Holland, which became an important centre of manufacture in the seventeenth century.

Denby [Derbyshire]. Brown stoneware pottery, late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries [see Bourne & Co.].

Dendritic. Having tree-like markings.

D'Entrecolles, Père François Xavier. A Jesuit missionary who went out to China in the year 1698. At a time when all the nations of Europe were trying actively to discover the secrets of porcelain manufacture he informed his compatriots of the methods of the Chinese potters. Two long letters, detailing with accuracy all that he had seen and heard, were written by him in 1712 and 1722, and published later in Paris. These documents are still the basis of much of our knowledge of porcelain making in China. P¶re dÍEntrecolles died in Peking in 1741. The letters have been translated into English, and are accessible in Porcelain: its Nature, Art and Manufacture by William Burton, London, 1906.

Derby [soft-paste porcelain]. Porcelain was made in Derby by 1750, and by 1756 there was a prolific factory, established by W. Duesbury and John Heath. Many figures were produced, often avowedly copying Meissen. The early figures are characterized by bases having a 'dry edge' [bare of glaze] and a hole underneath formed as if countersunk for a wood screw; light weight, pale colours, and often a blue-toned glaze. About 1760-70 a richer palette [including a characteristic dirty brownish turquoise] was used, with gilding; the figures almost always have three or four dark patches below the base. The early tablewares were characterized by painting of flowers with stems rendered as trembling hairlines, and of birds and moths by a distinctive hand [the 'Moth painter']. In the early period blue-and-white and printed decoration are rare. There was no regular factory mark. In 1770 the Chelsea factory was acquired. Although some work continued there, the Chelsea style was largely abandoned. The figures of this 'Chelsea-Derby' period are characterized by rather weak modelling, and a lighter palette of pink, pale green, and a clear turquoise. Many were made in 'biscuit'. The tablewares were finely potted and fastidiously painted, mainly with neoclassical designs, but fine flower painting was also done. On more elaborate pieces coloured [opaque bright blue and brownish claret are characteristic] and striped grounds were combined with miniature-like painting of landscapes and classical subjects. The porcelain of this period is commonly marked [see below]. Duesbury died in 1786 and was succeeded in turn by his son [d. 1796 or 1797] and Michael Kean [until 1811]. This [1786-1811] is the'Crown Derby' period proper. The figures continued the old models, and 'biscuit' was extensively used. The useful wares are characterized by the use of figure and landscape subjects on diapered or pale-coloured grounds. Naturalistic flower painting was introduced [see Billingsley]. In 1811 the Factory was bought by Robert Bloor [went insane, 1826], and the period 1811-48 is known by his name. The figures [mainly old models] have opaque paint-like enamels and profuse brassy gilding. On useful wares the elaborate 'revived rococo' and Japanese 'brocaded Imari' styles largely supersede the neoclassical. MARKS: script 'Derby', incised [c. 1750]; [at left] 1, in gold or red ['Chelsea-Derby' period]; 2, in gold [c. 1770-80; 3, in enamel or gold [c. 1784]; 4, incised on figures, and 5, in enamel or gold [c. 1784-1810]; 6, in purple [1795-6]; 7, usually in red, and 8, printed in red [Bloor period].

Derbyshire. Slipware was made at Bolsover until about 1750; brown stoneware at Brampton and Chesterfield from the second half of the eighteenth century; at Crich somewhat earlier, and by Bourne & Co. at Belper [from c. 1800], Denby [from 1812], and Codnor Park [from 1833]. [See Tickenhall, Cockpit Hill.]


NOTE: References to MARKS may refer to illustrations of these marks which are not included in this document.
NOTE: * represents a configuration not available on the computer

[L. G. G. Ramsey, F.S.A., ed. The Complete Color Encyclopedia of Antiques. Preface by Bevis Hillier, Editor of The Connoisseur. Compiled by The Connoisseur, London. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1962. Revised and Expanded Edition.]



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