English Porcelain Factories

English porcelain is, with the exception of Plymouth, all of soft-paste, and it is important for the collector to learn to recognize this feature. Like so many difficult things, it cannot be done at once; some are able to recognize it quickly and almost by intuition, but for most it is a matter of patience and experience.

Of the factories operating before 1785, Chelsea and Worcester were the most consistent in their use of marks but quite a large proportion of their output, like that of the other makers, is unmarked. Some of the factories copied the crossed swords of Dresden, and some copied each other. After 1785, the position grew better, but there were still more unmarked pieces than marked.

One feature of decorating should be mentioned: the practice of factories selling their ware, white and glazed, to men with decorating establishments of their own. This was not at all uncommon in the early days of porcelain-making, and the name of James Giles is among the best known of those doing this type of work. William Duesbury, later owner of the Derby factory and purchaser of both Chelsea and Bow, began his career similarly. There was a further outburst of activity of this nature early in the nineteenth century, when Nantgarw porcelain was painted in London by Randall and Robins. Men who worked in this way are known as 'outside decorators', because their workshops were unconnected with a particular factory.

Chelsea Porcelain Factory
Bow Porcelain Factory
Derby Porcelain Factory
Lund's Bristol Porcelain Factory
Worcester Porcelain Factory
Longton Hall, Liverpool Porcelain Factories
Plymouth, Caughley, New Hall Porcelain Factories
Davenport, Minton, Pinxton Porcelain Factories
Coatport, Spode Porcelain Factories
Wedgwood, Nantgarw and Swansea, Rockingham Porcelain Factories

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