Notebook, 1993-


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

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Mille fleurs. Decoration with panels of growing plants reserved on a flower-covered ground: employed from the Ch'ien Lung period.

Ming dynasty [1368-1644] reign marks.

Ch'ê ng Hua

Hung Chi

Chê ng-tê

Chia Ching

Lung Ch'ing

Wan Li

T'ien Ch'i

Minton, Thomas [1765-1836]. After apprenticeship at Caughley, Minton worked for Josiah Spode. In 1796 he set up for himself at Stoke, first making pottery only [much blue-printed], but from 1798 to 1811, and again 1821-5, porcelain too. Excellent transfer printing in black and brown was done. MARKS: 'M' or as diagram, in blue.

Mishima. Celadon wares, principally bottles and vases, inlaid with black and white clays in a variety of motifs usually floral. The technique was first emlpoyed in Korea during the Koryu dynasty and manufacture was extended into the following Yi dynasty. The wares were later copied in Japan. The name is derived from the Island of Mishima midway between Korea and Japan, where wares of this kind were transhipped, and perhaps even made.

'M' mark. See Minton, Pinxton.

Mocha. Ware decorated with colourd bands into which tree, moss, or fern-like effects have been introduced by means of a diffusing medium, described by William Evans [1846] as 'a saturated infusion of tobacco in stale urine and turpentine', made from about 1780 until 1914. Named from mocha quartz.

Moco, moko. Buff- or redware mottled by spattering colourd slips over the surface before glazing. A cheap nineteenth-c. substitute for mocha.

Money boxes. Made at most country potworks from medieval times. Usual forms comprise houses, chests of drawers, globes, fir-cones, pig s, and hens and chickens. Associated with the custom of the 'Christmas box'.

Monochrome-glazed porcelain. These are divisible into two classes: [i] with high-temperature glazes, fired in one process at the full heat of the kiln--such as white, blue, copper red, celadon green, and brown or black; [ii] the remainder, with medium-or low-temperature colours [q.v.]

'Moons'. Patches of higher translucency observable in some porcelains.

'Mr. and Mrs. Caudle'. Relief decoration on brown stoneware spirit flasks, made about 1846 by Doulton of Lambeth, and based upon Douglas Jerrold's Punch papers ['Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures']. One side shows 'Mr and Mrs Caudle in Bed', the other 'Miss Prettyman'.

Muffle. Kiln used for low-temperature firing [petit feu] of about 700-900° C. The porcelain piece is enclosed in an inner chamber 'muffle', out of contact with flames or smoke, hence the name. It is used to fuse enamel painting into the glaze of fašence and porcelain.

Nanking porcelain. Only blue-and-white Chinese porcelain made at Ching-tê Chê n for export, and shipped through the port of Nanking, s old be so-called. This type of porcelain, however, was routed through Nanking as a matter of course, while porcelain was sent 'in white' southwards to Canton to be enamelled for export, whence it was shipped to the West.

Nantgarw [Glamorgan, soft-paste porcelain]. A porcelain factory at Nantgarw was started in 1813 by W. Billingsley and, after transfer to Swansea [1814-16/17], continued until Billingsley left for Coalport [1819], and afterwards [probably for decoration only] until 1822 under W. W. Young. At Swansea [q.v.]the beautiful but uneconomic Nantgarw material [white, glassy, and translucent] was adapted to produce: [1] a body with a greenish translucency ['duck's egg'], and then [2] one with a minutely pitted surface and yellow translucency [c. 1817]. The porcelain of both factories, although often simply decorated on the spot with 'Billingsley-style' flowers, birds, etc. [see Pardoe, Baxter], was keenly sought after by London dealers and decorators, who were responsible for much elaborate decoration. A raised border pattern of floral panels was favoured at both factories. MARKS: NANT-GARW C-W impressed, used at both Nantgarw and Swansea; 'Swansea' impressed or written in red or gold, on [1] above; SWANSEA with a trident, impressed, on [2] above.

Neale, J. See Palmer.

Neolithic pottery. The principal Chinese Neolithic wares come from cemeteries at Pan-Shan and Ma-Chang in Kansu Province. They are difficult to date accurately, but a date in the region of 2000 BC is generally accepted. These pots were made by coiling or on a 'slow' [i.e. hand-turned] wheel. The body is reddish-brown, and most are painted with bold, abstract, swirling patterns in black, white, red, and purple-brown pigments. Kansu is the gateway to China from the West, and urns related in style have been found as far west as the Ukraine. More or less contemporary with these wares are some pots in a grey body with impressed or incised ornament which suggests the use of a 'beater' bound with string. Most known specimens are either gobular in shape, or in the form of a hemispherical vessel with three hollow legs for standing over a fire. Known as a li, this later became the prototype of a bronze vessel of the same name.

Newcastle-on-Tyne. Potteries here [St. Anthony's 1780 onwards, and St Peter's about 1817 onwards] made inferior creamware.

New Hal [Shelton, Staffordshire]. In 1781 the Bristol patent for hard-paste porcelain was bought by a Staffordshire combine, which in 1782 established a factory at New Hall. Hard-paste porcelain decorated with simple, mainly floral patterns was produced until about 1810, when a glassy bone china was adopted. MARKS: pattern numbers prefaced by 'N' or 'N°'; on bone china, 'New Hall' within a double circle, printed.

'N' and 'N°' mark. See New Hall.

Northern celadon. Sung wares probably from Honan Province, with grey porcellaneous body burnt brown, where exposed, and usually glazed base. The glaze is often glassy and olive green to brown in tone. They include beautifully shaped bowls, pear-shaped vases, and small shallow dishes superbly carved with plant forms or free designs incised with a comb.

Nottingham. Stoneware pottery from late seventeenth century to about 1800, making wares thinly potted and overlaid wth a lustrous ferruginous wash. Pierced, impressed, or incised decoration was common. Latterly almost indistinguishable from Derbyshire stoneware.

'Oak-leaf' jars. Mid-fifteenth-c. Tuscan drug jars decorated with foliage in impasto blue.

'Oil-spot' glaze. Some of the so-called Honan brown and back glazes of the Sung dynasty bear attractive silvery spots which are caused by precipitated iron crystals.

On-glaze. Decoration applied after the ware has been glazed and fired.

'Opaque china'. See Swansea.

'Orange jumper'. Local subject on Yorkshire cream-coloured earthenware made at the Don pottery [p. 502], c. 1808, depicting a coarse-featured local horse breaker who acted as messenger for Lord Milton in the 1807 election. He is clothed in orange, the 'colour' of Lord Milton. Orange tawny was considered the colour appropriate to the lower classes.

Owl jug. Jug with a separated head forming a cup, made in slipware, c. 1700, and white salt-glazed stoneware, c. 1720-75. The proverb 'Like an owl in an ivy bush', used of a vague person with a sapient look, may explain its convivial associations. Jugs in the shape of owls [or Eulenkrüge] were also made in Germany in the sixteenth century, providing one of the earliest examples of the use of tin glaze in Germany. There are about fifteen known examples dating between 1540 and 1561. They have moulded relief feathers and sometimes shields of arms in oil paint and cold gilding on their breasts.

Palissy, Bernard [c. 1510-c. 1590]. A celebrated French potter. Palissy's great reputation rests on the fine coloured glazes used on his wares. He was originally a painter of glass, and after a period of travel in France, settled at Saintes. His ambition to become a potter was aroused, according to his own account, by the sight of a beautifully decorated cup. After many costly experiments he succeeded in making pottery and decorating it with mingled colour glazes. His figulines rustiques [pottery with rural subjects modeled in relief] brought him the patronage of the Constable de Montmorency, who, on one occasion, had him released from prison by declaring him inventeur des rustiques figulines du roi. The subjects of these figulines include snakes, lizards, shells, fishes, etc., modelled on a ground of rockwork and moss. The glazes provide a harmonious blending of blue, purple, brown, yellow, and green. He decorated a grotto at the Tuileries in this manner to the order of Catherine de' Medici; but, as a Huguenot, was obliged to flee from Paris in order to escape the massacre of St Bartholomew's day. Eventually imprisoned in the Bastille de Bucy, he died there about 1590. Genuine specimens of his work are extremely rare, but it has been extensively copied.

Palmer, Humphrey. Potter of Hanley [Staffordshire], 1760-78, rivaled Wedgwood in making black basaltes [1769] and jasperware. Bankrupt in 1778, he was helped by J . Neale ['Neale & Co.', subsequently [1784] 'Neale & Wilson']. Their lead-glazed earthenware figures are notable for neat modelling and clear, bright enamel colours.

Pancheon. Large shallow earthenware bowl with sloping sides used for settling milk.

Pap dish. A shallow boat with a tubular spout for feeding infants.

Pardoe, Thomas [1770-1823]. Painted porcelain at Derby and Worcester, pottery at Swansea [1797-1809]; became independent enameller in Bristol [1809-21]; decorated Nantgarw porcelain [1821-?1823]. Painted mainly 'botanical' flowers. [p. 503]

Parian or statuary ware. Fine-grained, waxy feldspathic porcelain resembling white Parian marble, developed in the 1840s by Copeland and Minton; much admired at the Crystal Palace exhibitions in London and New York [1851 and 1853]. Soon a favourite of American makers, chiefly for portrait busts and parlour ornaments. [See previous page]

'Parson and clerk'. Figure group showing a drunken parson being led home by the faithful Moses, first made by Enoch Wood [1759-1840] as a sequel to the 'Vicar and Moses'. A satire on the drinking, hunting sqaurson type of incumbent.

Pastille burners. Box-like containers, often the form of cottages, churches, or summer houses, with detachable perforated lids for burning cassolette perfumes. These consisted of finely powdered willow-wood charcoal, benzoin, fragrant oils, and gum arabic. Extremely popular, 1820-50.

'Patch family'. See Derby.

'Paul Pry'. Model for pottery figures and Toby jugs based upon the meddlesome hero of John Poole's comedy of that name, 1825.

Peach-bloom glaze. A pink glaze mottled with a deeper red with small spots of brown and green. This much prized reduced copper glaze was principally employed to cover small pieces, such as the water-pots used on the scholar's table of which there is a fine example in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The best examples belong to the reign of K'ang Hsi: Japanese copies are sometimes deceptive.

Pearlware. A white variety of the cream-coloured pottery ['Queen's Ware'] introduced by Josiah Wedgwood about 1779. It had a nacreous glaze, hence the name given to it.

Peasant style. Ornament derived from peasant art: specifically earthenware painted in the 'resist' lustre style with a restricted palette of colours.

'Pebbled' vases. Vases with marbled surface [see Agateware, Wedgwood].

Peever. A piece of slate or stone used in the game of hopscotch, also a disc of pottery, so used, coloured and lettered in the name of the owner. Made at Alloa and elsewhere in Scotland, nineteenth century.

'Peggy Plumper'. Crude decoration showing Peggy Plumper sparring with Sammy Spar for mastership of bed and board, accompanied by a long rhyme 'about wearing the breeches'.

Peking bowls. Bowls of Ch'ien Lung or later date, with painted famille rose medallions reserved on a single-coloured round covered with engraved scrollwork; said to have been sent as yearly tribute to the Emperor at Peking.

'Pelican in her piety'. A Christian emblem representing the old popular fallacy that the pelican feeds her young with her own blood. Used on Staffordshire slipware.

Penny bank. Earthenware money box in the form of a house or chest of drawers.

Petuntse. See China stone.

'Pew groups'. In salt-glazed stoneware depicted seated figures sometimes playing instruments [see also Adam and Eve]. Conjecturally attributed to Aaron Wood.

Phoenix. Correctly, the f'eng huang in Chinese, and the ho-ho in Japan. This bird, a kind of long-tailed pheasant, is a symbol of the Empress of China. Sometimes called the Vermilion Bird, it represents Spring from the Four Seasons, and the South from the Four Quardrants.

'Piatto da pompa'. An elaborately decorated dish made entirely for ornamental display.

Piggin. A small milk pail. A pig wife is a woman who sells crockery.

Pilchard pots. Made in North Devon, South Wales and Cornwall for the West Country fishermen, and known by size as 'gallons', 'bussas', and 'great crocks'.

Pilgrim bottle. See Costrel.

'Pineapple' ware. See 'Cauliflower' ware.

Pinxton [soft-paste porcelain]. The Pixton [Derbyshire] factory [1793-1813] was started with the technical assistance of W. Billingsley, a fine translucent white porcelain being made. In 1799 Billingsley left, and a coarser Staffordshire-type porcelain was made. The decoration followed Derby styles. A yellow ground is notable. MARKS: 'T' and 'M', impressed; 'P', in various enamels; 1 below in blue, 2 in purple, 3 and 4 in red enamels.

Pipkin. Earthenware cooking vessel.

Pirlie-pig. Earthenware money box. 'Pig' is a North Country word for an earthen jar: 'pirlie' is a diminutive indicating something of slight value.

Pitcher mould. Mould made of clay and fired.

Plymouth [hard-paste porcelain]. In 1768 William Cookworthy, a Plymouth apothecary, took out a patent for hard-paste porcelain. The factory was moved to Bristol about 1770. Plymouth porcelain suffers from technical defects - smoky glaze discoloration, firecracks, warping, etc. The enamels [often of a dirty tone] frequently stand out in relief. A characteristic brownish red was much used on the rococo bases of figures. These formed an important part of the factory's production. Painting in blackish-toned underglaze blue was practised. MARKS: [1] as diagram, in underglaze blue, blue or red enamel, or gold; [2] occasionally a cross, alone or with [1], either incised through the glaze or in enamel or gilt; [3] 'T' and 'T°' impressed.

'P' mark. See Worcester, Pinxton.

Pope and Devil. Reversible bell-shaped cup showing the Pope in his triple tiara when held one way up, [p. 505] and the Devil when reversed. Sometimes inscribed 'When Pope absolves, the Devil smiles'. Late eighteenth century.

Porcelain. Translucent, vitrified ware made of china clay and china stone fused at great heat - the 'true' or hard-paste porcelain. Soft-paste or artificial porcelain is made of white clay and a glassy grit, in some cases with bone ash added as a flux. A type of porcelain made from clay and soaprock [steatite] is also classified as soft porcelain. From continual experiments, the formulas varied endlessly, and many marginal 'porcelains' are accepted if they show translucence.

Porringer. Child's basin for broth or porridge.

Portland vase. This vase, which is in the British Museum, London, is in the form of an amphora about 10 inches [25.4 cm] in height. It is made of glass of a deep-blue colour, over which is a layer of white glass. The body of the vase is cut in relief with scenes from the story of Peleus and Thetis. It dates from the first century A.D. The base, which does not belong to the vase, is of the same materials, and is carved with the bust of a youth wearing a Phrygian cap. When in the possession of the Duke of Portland it was loaned to Wedgewood, who made many successful copies.

'Portobello' ware. Made at Tunstall, Staffordshire, c. 1830, in imitation of banded and 'Pratt'-type wares made at Portobellow in Scotland.

Posset. Beverage comprising hot ale, milk, sugar, spices, and small pieces of bread, toast, or oatcake, said to have been a common supper beverage in Staffordshire and Derbyshire on Christmas Eve. Enjoyed widespread popularity.

Posset pot. Straight- or curved-sided vessel with loop handles and spouts, generally covered with a slanting or dome-shaped lid, and occasionally crowned with an elaborate knob, used for posset, and made in delftware and slipware, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Potiche. Large, broad-mouthed jar, often of 'baluster' shape, with cover; favoured from Ming times.

Pottery. In the broadest sense is 'any receptacle or vessel made of clay' by the potter. But the name is saved for earthenwares fired at low temperatures [600° C. or more] as distinguished from stoneware or porcelain, fired at much greater heat.

Pottle pot. Quart pot.

Powder blue. Chinese, chui-ch'ing, French, bleu soufflé. An underglaze-blue ground termed bleu soufflé, or 'blown blue', because it was blown on in powder form through a bamboo tube with a silk screen at one end. It was especially employed to decorate rouleau vases which usually had panels reserved in white for painted decoration. Most powder-blue porcelain was made at the end of the seventeenth century and in the early decades of the eighteenth. It was extensively copied in Europe, for instance by the Worcester factory in the 1760s.

'Pratt' type. Wares made at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, decorated in a distinctive palette of colours, consisting of drab blue, dirty brown, ochre, orange, yellow, and dull green. Made in Staffordshire by Pratt and others; also in South Wales, Liverpool, Sunderland, and Prestonpans.

Printing. The process of printing, or transfer printing, on pottery and porcelain is carried out by means of 'inking' an engraved metal plate. An impression is then taken on thin paper and applied to the article to be decorated. The engraving, being printed with a special ink and used while it is still wet, is thus transferred. This is done on a piece that has been glazed already, and when it is fired the printing sinks into the glaze and a smooth surface results. The invention is an English one, and its use was practised in the first place at the Battersea enamel works, near London, in 1753. Shortly afterwards it was in use at Worcester and at Liverpool. John Sadler and Guy Green, of the latter town, claimed credit for the original invention, stating that they had made it in 1749. No evidence in favour of this claim has come to light. The invention proved a workable and economical one, Sadler and Green stating that they had within the space of six hours 'printed upwards of twelve hundred tiles of different colours and patterns, which, upon a moderate computation, was more than one hundred good workmen could have done of the same patterns in the same space of time by the usual way of painting with the pencil '. By the year 1764 Wedgwood is known to have been sending plain cream-coloured pottery to Liverpool to be decorated by Sadler and Green by the transfer process. A typical example, a tankard dating from [p. 505] about 1775, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Printing in blue , which was done by a similar process but prior to the application of glaze to the article, was developed at Worcester soon after the invention of the first process, and outstripped the latter in popularity. It was employed extensively at Caughley and by Spode, but a meat dish bearing the Wedgwood mark, dating from about 1840, is exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Proto-porcelain. Hard-fired stoneware dating from the Han dynasty. It has a grey body covered with a felspathic glaze which is olive-brown in colour. The glaze has a tendency to coagulate into drops. Technically these wares, usually globular jars, are the precursor of later porcelains.

Punch. Beverage consisting of spirits blended with hot milk or water, sugar, and flavoured with lemon and spice.

Punch bow. Large basin for serving hot punch, sometimes called a 'jorum'.

Purple of Casius. Discovered by Andreas Cassius of Leyden, in the middle of the seventeenth century. It involved dissolving gold in nitric acid and sal ammoniac.

Puzzle jug. Vessel made in earthenware, delftware, or stoneware with a hollow tube round the lip opening into three or more spouts, and connected with the inside by the hollow handle. Sometimes there is a hole under the top of the handle. The neck is pierced with ornamental motifs, and usually inscribed with a challenge to the drinker. To empty the vessel without spilling the contents it is necessary to stop all the apertures except one, and to drain it by suction.

Queen's ware. Cream-coloured earthenware improved and marketed by Josiah Wedgwood. He named it 'Queen's ware' in honour of Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III.

Red and green family. Although a combination of iron-red and green enamels antedates the reign of Wan Li, large jars, vases, and potiches thus decorated, and belonging to this reign, are usually referred to as the 'red and green family'. In China these wares are among the forerunners of the famille verte, and they were also popular in Japan.

Red glazes and enamels. The copper-red glazes and underglaze pigment should be distinguished from the vermilion-toned iron-red enamel colour. This was much used in Ming times, is prominent in the K'ang Hsi famille verte, and appears also on some famille rose wares, and as a monochrome glaze from Yung Chêng.

Reducing atmosphere. A kiln atmosphere heavily charged with carbon monoxide is termed 'reducing'. Its effect is profoundly to modify the colours yielded by certain metallic oxides, particularly iron and copper. Celadons, and the purple suffusion of Chun glazes, underglaze copper red, and the later flambé glazes, are all the products of firing in a reducing atmosphere. The Chinese often achieve the desired concentration of carbon monoxide by feeding the furnace with wet wood.

Redware. Or red-clay pottery. Simple lead-glazed wares of soft, porous body ranging in colour from pinkish buff to reds and brown. [See also Slipware, sgraffiato.]

Reform flasks. Brown salt-glazed stoneware spirit flasks made by Doulton [Lambeth], Stephen Green [Lambeth], Oldfield [Chesterfield], and Joseph Thomson [Wooden Box Pottery, Hartshorne], in the form of prominent politicians and royalty, at the time of the Reform Bill, 1832. Personalities portrayed included William IV, Queen Adelaide, Lord Grey, O'Connell, Brougham, Richard Cobden, and Lord John Russell.

Registry mark. Appearing on English wares in two cycles, 1842-67 and 1868-83. A lozenge with code letters and numerals assigned by the 'Registration of Designs' Office.

Relief decoration. There are various ways of producing relief decoration: by freehand modeling, free incising or piercing, or, more frequently, by pressing soft clay in plaster moulds; also by impressing the surface of soft-clay objects with cut-metal stamps. Occasionally separately moulded low reliefs are applied to the surface.

Repairer. Repairer, or bossierer, workman responsible for assembling the porcelain clay impressions from moulds, attaching heads, limbs, etc., and finishing the figure, which was usually modelled by another artist. Incised and impressed marks on figures and groups often refer to these repairers.

Reserved. A surface left plain to receive decoration.

'Resist' lustre. On-glaze decorative process used generally with silver lustre, giving an effect of a light or coloured decoration against a metallic background. The ornament is painted on the ware with a 'resist', covered with the metallic solution, and fired; the infusible 'resist' being removed by polishing with whiting afterwards.

'Rice-grain' decoration. Small perforations filled with transparent glaze; a technique adopted from Persian pottery, popular during the eighteenth century.

Ridgway. Staffordshire potters at Hanley [1794 onwards] and Cauldon Place, Shelton [from 1812], making mainly stone china, but also porcelain.

'R' mark. See Chelsea, Bow.

Rockingham [England]. Little is known about 'The Rockingham Works' [near Swinton, Yorkshire] founded about 1750, but from 1787 to 1806 it was allied to the Leeds Pottery, after which it passed to the Brameld family. The wares are almost indistinguishable from those of Staffordshire or Leeds. Distinctive, however, were a streaky dark-brown glaze, and a special ['Cadogan'] type of tea pot. Porcelain [soft paste] was made from 1820 in the contemporary florid taste [see Introduction, English porcelain]. Some figures were [p. 506] made, including dogs, models and cottages, etc. MARKS: BRAMELD and ROCKINGHAM, impressed, and as diagram below, opposite.

Rockingham [U.S.]. A common yellow ware with Lustrous brown manganese glaze, mottled or streaked. The popular misnomer is 'Bennington ware', but it was made at countless American factories from the 1840s onward. East Liverpool produced 'probably fifty per cent of the total' [see Antiques, Jan 1946, pp. 42-4].


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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