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Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2

Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2

Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2

Many of us love blue and white pottery, and I am one of the many, but the question is why?

Blue and white pottery has been around for, literally, a millennium. It has been made by a large number of manufacturers, with the only thing in common being the predominance of a blue colouration, with some white.

It is also includes flow blue: a blue glaze that blurs/ flows during firing. Flow blue was popular in the Victorian era, particularly in the U.S where it is still popular today.

Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2
Victorian Flow Blue teapot

Blue and white pottery or porcelain start life as white pottery. This is decorated underglaze with blue pigmentation; usually cobalt oxide. The decoration can be applied in several ways including, hand painting, stencilling and transfer-printing.

The origin of blue and white pottery can be traced back to the 9th Century and, contrary to popular opinion, originated in Iraq (Persia) and not China; albeit using Chinese stoneware. Chinese blue and white porcelain appeared in larger numbers from the 14th Century, using cobalt pigment exported from Iraq to China. I think most of us will have heard of the 15th Century Ming Dynasty pottery!

Our Love Of Blue and White Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 2
15th Century Ming Jug

Europe loved the Chinese imports but didn’t develop their own tin-glazed earthenware until the 16th Century, with the introduction of Delft ware in The Netherlands. This was then followed by other famous manufacturers including Meissen (Germany), Worcester (UK), Wedgwood and Spode (to name just a few!).

Vintage German Windmill Delftware 30cm 12 Inch Plate
Vintage German Windmill Delftware 30cm 12 Inch Plate

One of the most enduring patterns is  ‘Willow,’ which looks like it should have been invented in China. However, it was actually introduced in the UK, albeit heavily influenced by Chinese imported pottery designs. The actual inventor of the Willow pattern is attributed to Spode, Staffordshire, UK but many other Staffordshire potteries were using similar, but slightly different, designs.

Victorian blue & white dish
Victorian blue & white sweet dish: Willow pattern

 

I know I haven’t quite answered the question of why we love blue and white. Maybe it is because of the numerous designs, the aesthetically pleasing colour combination and patterns, and the fact that it is associated with the development of white porcelain and tin glaze? For me, it is a combination of all these factors and perhaps more than a little visceral sentience!

 

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A Short Overview Of SylvaC Pottery

SylvaC Pottery

A Short Overview Of SylvaC Pottery

For those of you whom are regular readers of my blog, you are probably now all aware of the fact that I love pottery! Over the years I have acquired many pieces from vases to ornaments, to whole tea and dinner services. I don’t just collect one manufacturer or style; it tends to be a mixture of things that appeal at the time of purchase. Some things were given as gifts by now, sadly, deceased relatives and these items have sentimental value; a contact with the past and a loving memory. Others appeal because of their colour or style.

One of the pottery manufacturers which I do admire is SylvaC Pottery, and I have collected several pieces over the years. One or two pieces I will never part with just because I love them so much! It’s not that they are all worth a small fortune; SylvaC is increasing in value but you can still pick up the more common models for below £20. It’s just that they are unusual but still immediately identifiable as SylvaC.

SylvaC Pottery:

The company, Shaw and Copestake (SylvaC) was founded in 1894 by William Copestake and William Shaw, in Longton, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire. Copestake left in 1895 and Richard Hull became Shaw’s partner, and was joined by Hull’s son (Richard Junior) in 1936.

The trade name SylvaC wasnt registered until 1937. Pieces prior to this date were not marked SylvaC. Some were marked ‘Silvo.’

In 1938, the partners bought Thomas Lawrence Falcon pottery.  The name ‘Falcon ware’ was used for pieces produced at both the Falcon and Sylvan (SylvaC) works until 1964. SylvaC continued to thrive as Shaw and Copestake until 1982 when it went into voluntary liquidation.

SylvaC are famous for their figurines of animals; in particular rabbits and dogs, but they also produced a wide range of novelty and character wares too.

Animals

Imps/ Gnomes/ Pixies

Most of us remember SylvaC in the orange and green matt glazes but they actually used quite a range of colours. Gloss glaze was introduced in 1970.

SylvaC Ware Model 5282 White Heraldic Brass Rubbing Tankard
SylvaC Ware Model 5282 White Heraldic Brass Rubbing Tankard

 

They were also well know for their  Dinnerware e.g. pots in the shape of vegetables with faces, and Toby/ Character Jugs, which were popular commemorative and advertising pieces.

SylvaC pottery
SylvaC model 4553 Beetroot Happy Face Pot

Backmark

During the 1920s/ 30s, SylvaC used a daisy wheel logo without the brand name ‘SylvaC’ and some of the very early pieces, pre 1920, were not marked at all!

Post 1937,  SylvaC  began using a more distinctive back mark, which usually included the model number and, post 1938, the SylvaC brand name, thus making SylvaC pieces considerably easier to identify and value. The company also used foil and paper stickers with the SylvaC logo but these had a habit of falling off!

The brand name SylvaC is still in existence today, and some of the vintage pottery has started to be reproduced with similar backmarks.

 

I hope you have enjoyed my short overview of SylvaC pottery. You may not know the name but I am sure you will have seen some of these wonderful pieces!

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