Ceramics

Creamware & queensware

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Chinese porcelain seemed fine, white and desirable to 18th century Europe, and it inspired skilled potters there to develop their own versions of porcelain. Others worked on more affordable earthenware, trying various clay and flint blends in the search for pale, creamy colours. This new creamware was developed during the mid-1700s. One of the most […]

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Spoon warmers

Spoon warmer

Food served with a cold spoon may cool down too quickly for some tastes. Even worse, a dish with rich, fatty gravy may congeal unappealingly on its way to your plate. A decorative container filled with hot water to keep serving spoons and sauce ladles warm seemed like the perfect solution in Victorian England. The […]

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Delft blue tiles – not always blue, not always from Delft

Delft tiles 1600s

The history of Delft tiles goes back to the early 1600s when blue and white porcelain from China first arrived in the Netherlands. It was much admired and Dutch potters wanted to imitate the look, even though they couldn’t recreate true Chinese porcelain. Potteries in Delft had some success with good quality blue and white […]

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Toby jugs – comic or commonplace, English or not?

Toby jug

Toby jugs portray a character whose story is rather unclear. He reminds some people of Shakespeare’s jovial, disreputable Toby Belch, and he very likely has something to do with an old song about Toby Fillpot. Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale, (In which I will drink to sweet Nan of […]

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Cornishware: what did people like about it?

Cornish ware

Why did Cornishware appeal to people in its early days? Now we think of it as a British “design classic”, collected above all for its distinctive broad blue and white stripes, the core pattern of the original TG Green Cornish Kitchen Ware range. Some collectors also like less common variations: black stripes, or a storage […]

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Muff warmers & other antique hand warmers

stoneware hand warmer for muff

A hundred years ago a woman going out in the cold of winter could tuck a miniature hot water bottle inside her fur muff to keep her hands warm: like Maw’s Dainty Muff Warmer in the photo. This kind of hand warmer was on sale in late Victorian and Edwardian England. The Thermos Hot-water Muff […]

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Wedgwood jasperware: solid jasper or jasper dip?

bas-relief on wedgwood jasper teapot

Jasper dip and solid jasper are two different kinds of Wedgwood jasperware. Both have white classical designs on a coloured background, and look similar to non-experts. If in doubt you are always safe calling this style of pottery jasperware. Solid jasper came first. After secret experiments in the early 1770s, blending clays with other ingredients, […]

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Pie birds: how old are these collectibles?

pie bird funnel

How many pies today are baked with a little ceramic chimney inside that supports the crust and channels away steam so that hot fillings don’t burst out in places where they shouldn’t? Also called a pie funnel, vent, or whistle, they don’t actually have to be birds, though using a little pottery bird with dark […]

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