Dating bone china

The terminology can be complicated and more on potters' words can be found on The Potbank Dictionary.

In 1796 Spode sold wares to Tatton Park in Cheshire and described some of them as English China - could this be Spode's earliest name for bone china?

dating bone china-24

No direct documentary evidence has yet been found recording the exact date of the invention of bone china - no dated pieces, 'receipt' (recipe) books, diary entries, experiments or trials.

But recipes for bone china from a slightly later date do survive and are now in the Spode archive.

Spode I seems to have been a man of energy and action and a budding entrepreneur.

In the second half of the of the 1700s, as well as training his 2 sons Josiah Spode II and Samuel Spode in the business of potting, he ran two partnerships - Spode & Tomlinson in Stoke; and Mountford & Spode in Shelton.

Recipes from the early 1800s record different combinations of the ingredients along with further experiments.

The recipes used by the Spode manufactory were varied and numerous each given a number e.g.

This is the formula which is now described as bone china.

The production and success of this beautiful new English porcelain from Spode led to this description from Antoinette Fay-Hallé, Curator of the Sèvres factory in France: 'The Spode factory was without doubt the most important factory in the 19th century.' Spode's bone china was translucent, very white and resonant and was intended to compete with and be on a par with the Sèvres porcelain much loved by the well-to-do of the period.

It was also possible to produce large pieces for the table in bone china which was not always successful in 18th century English porcelains which didn't keep their shape during firing.

Once bone china was in production, and soon a huge success, it did not stop further development at Spode.

The word 'china' is often used today (2015) as a generic word for all sorts of pottery of whatever type; conversely the word 'pottery' is also used as a generic term to mean anything not porcelain.

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