English Porcelain Factories - Davenport, Minton, Pinxton


A factory at Longport in Staffordshire was operated by successive members of the Davenport family from 1793 until 1882, and during much of the time porcelain was made. The ware is not especially distinguished and varies in quality, but some good porcelain-painters worked there at times. Two of them, James Holland and Joshua Cristall became well-known water-colour artists. Much Davenport china is unmarked, but some pieces bear the name of the factory with or without an anchor, and sometimes with the word 'Longport' added. The mark was at first impressed, but later was printed.


Thomas Minton, an engraver of designs for printing on china, started a factory in 1793 and the firm continues today. He made good bone china, but it is on the productions of his descendants that the fame of the firm rests; they concentrated on making close copies of old Sevres, which were bought by those who could not afford the extremely high prices realized by the latter in the mid-nineteenth century and later.

In 1870, a Frenchman, Marc-Louis Solon, introduced a technique of decorating china by painting and modelling with white slip on a dark background, known as pate-sur-pate: 'clay on clay'. Solon is equally remembered for forming a large collection of English pottery and porcelain and for writing a number of early books on the subject.


A small factory was started at Pinxton, Derbyshire, by William Billingsley, who was later at Nantgarw. Billingsley was at Pinxton from 1796 to 1801, and made a particularly fine glassy soft-paste porcelain which was well decorated. After he left, the quality of the ware declined, and the factory closed in 1813.

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