Saturday, November 17, 2007

Industry in Britain

Great Britain 1700-1800: Industrial Revolution brings huge changes to industry. Eventually, small potteries can not compete, but this encourages development of genuinely alternate "art pottery" or studio potters. Technical improvements introduced into Staffordshire (main pottery area): Stoneware produced by John Dwight and Elers brothers (from Holland) end of 17th c--lathe-turned, precise shapes influenced by Chinese Yixing wares. Calcined flint added to make white body, salt glaze stoneware. Creamware perfected by Wedgwood--low fire earthenware, cheap, light colour takes decoration, industrial parallels development of consumer culture, emphasis on dining, etiquette, fashion. Creamwares after 1760 revolutionize tablewares available to middle classes, replace tin glaze.
Ralph Daniel introduces plaster of Paris from Continent for molds in 1740s--used for press molding salt glaze wares (slip casting not economical until introduction of deflocculants in 19th c.). Transfer printing introduced 1753. First used on enamels, but adapted to pottery. Copper plate printed ink on tissue or oil on gelatin bat. Oil transferred to pot, dusted with oxides for colour. Allowed for efficient, mass-produced decoration, popularity of prints (Hogarth and others), political commentary, souvenir jugs etc. Thomas Whieldon (1719-95) "agate wares" (white clay body coloured with iron, manganese, cobalt—clay wedged together to marbleize, imitate stone) and "tortoiseshell wares" (glaze colours dusted on, mix with streaky glaze). Enoch Booth introduces biscuit firing, which allows pots to be produced one place, decorated at another.
Redware, or red stoneware, was a popular type of unglazed pottery in the mid-eighteenth century in many parts of Europe, especially the Low Countries and England. It was principally intended to imitate Chinese tablewares for the preparation and serving of tea. In Stafforsdshire, the preparation of the red clays, using local Stafforsdshire clays which fired at a high temperature, had been perfected at the end of the seventeenth century by the Dutch brothers John Philip and David Elers. They produced exceptionally finely made teapots, mugs and tea canisters. The subsequent manufacture in the 1760s of unglazed red 'useful' wares was one of the ways in which Josiah Wedgwood established his name as a potter in the late eighteenth century. Wedgwood refined the body, and called it “rosso antico.” The most common surviving pieces are mugs, tankards, teapots and coffeepots. Shapes were made using plaster moulds.
Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795): brilliant innovator, businessman, encourages canals, opposes slavery, supports French/American revolutions (real paradox!). Capitalizes on vogue for consumer goods, neoclassical decorative wares, improves creamware body--"Queensware"--admired by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. "Frog Service" 1773 for Catherine the Great of Russia. Designs often based on metalwares, pierced wares, transfer printed. Jasperware: body coloured with cobalt other minerals (later, just dipped)--designs by leading neoclassical artists, copied from archaeological designs published by Sir William Hamilton and others from Pompeii, Herculaneum--used in furniture, tea services, jewellery, decorative vases—extremely elaborate and ornate.
Wedgwood produced a copy of the celebrated Portland Vase in black-and-white jasper-ware. The original, attributed to the Roman gem-cutter Dioskourides, is in the style of works made between 30 and 20 B.C. After its discovery in the late sixteenth century in the tomb of the Emperor Septimius Severus, it became one of the most admired works of antiquity and passed through an illustrious series of collections, among them those of Cardinal Barberini, Sir William Hamilton, and finally, the duchess of Portland, who donated it to the British Museum. The iconography remains a mystery, though many interpretations have been offered. A recent theory is that the frieze depicts (as the vessel is turned) Peleus entering to meet Thetis in the presence of her parents and Aphrodite and that the vase was made as a wedding present for the Emperor Augustus's daughter Julia on her marriage to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, her cousin, in 25 B.C. Wedgwood continued to issue editions of the vase throughout the 19th and 20th c.
The research of Josiah Wedgwood I (1730-95), and his experiments with various types of clays and methods of firing led to the production of creamware from the early 1760s. Wares made at Wedgwood in Burslem were sent to Liverpool to John Sadler (1720-89) and Guy Green (retired 1799) to be decorated with transfer prints.

No comments: