Passion for Porcelain
At our last meeting HHCG was delighted to welcome Peter White to hear about Bow Porcelain of the eighteenth century and specifically 1745-1767 and the ‘A’ mark used in 1745. Peter’s passion for Bow has spanned fifty years and many fine examples are in his private collection.
The description of Bow porcelain at that time accompanied by numerous examples and comparisons enabled us to understand the importance of Bow and how the first patent applicants were innovative in their time. In 1744, patents for the manufacture of ware superior to china/porcelain were taken out and the ‘A’-marked group (Bows first patented wares) represent the earliest commercial porcelains to have been made in the English speaking world.
The key to the success of Bow porcelain was that while it was an emulative rival of the Chelsea porcelain factory and imported Chinese and Japanese ware it was significantly more durable. However the initial ‘A’ mark porcelain was notoriously uneven of finish, glassy and the glaze tended towards ivory and as a result production ceased after a year. Peter was able to show us fine examples of ‘A’ mark porcelain from his collection explaining that all English factories were competing with Chinese porcelain at that time and prospered or failed dependent upon the quality or price of their products or indeed, updated fashion. The products were not commercial and in 1746 – 1747 the paste was changed and the ’A’ mark was not used again.
Many, many pieces in Peter’s vast collection illustrated the various ways that Bow produced copies of Meissen, Chelsea, Derby and Worcester porcelain and he helped us to identify the differences in the examples. Bow undercut their rivals on cost by as much as half!
A most interesting and informative lecture with discussion afterwards, viewing a small number of fine pieces that Peter had kindly displayed.