English Porcelain Factories - Plymouth, Caughley, New Hall

In 1768 William Cookworthy, a Plymouth chemist, took out a patent for the making of true hard-paste porcelain using ingredients he had found in Cornwall. He opened a factory at Plymouth in that year, and two years later transferred it to Bristol where Richard Champion became manager until he bought the concern in 1773. The earlier porcelain made at Plymouth is often smoke-stained and mis- shapen, and the underglaze blue sometimes used is more like a blue-black. After the move to Bristol many of the same faults appear, but less frequently, and the majority of the pieces stand comparison with other wares of the period. Many of the shapes of tablewares are from Sevres models, but some of the figures are original in design and their painting is usually very accomplished. A number of highly decorative services were made at Bristol for presentation by

Champion to his friends, and another feature of the factory was some small biscuit plaques carefully modelled with flowers and Other ornament in relief round a portrait bust, or a coat-of-arms. The thirty or so recorded plaques of this description include five with portraits of Benjamin Franklin, and one with George Washington.

In 1781, the patent was sold to a group of Staffordshire potters who opened a factory called New Hall at Longport, Staffordshire. The mark at Plymouth was the alchemists' sign for tin, like a figure four, in red; and at Bristol an 'X' in blue.

A manufactory was built at Caughley (pronounced 'Coffley') near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, by Thomas Turner in 1772, and porcelain was made there soon after that date. It was called at the time, and still is, Salopian ware, and is very similar in appearance to Worcester, which it copied. Much of it was printed in underglaze blue and sometimes shows a yellow or brownish tone if held up to the light, whereas Worcester is more often inclined to appear a pale green. Turner is credited with producing the original version of the favoured 'willow-pattern', which was copied on both pottery and porcelain by innumerable other makers, and remains popular today.

The factory was bought by John Rose of Coalport in 1799, and eventually the two were merged and the Caughley works closed.

New Hall
In 1781 a group of Staffordshire potters bought the Plymouth hard-paste patent from Champion of Bristol, and opened a factory at Longport, Staffordshire, which they called New Hall. They made simple tablewares with cottage-type simple decoration and are said to have made more ambitious painted pieces as well. Many of the productions are marked under the base with 'N* or 'N°' in red and a pattern number. The factory closed in 1835.

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