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George Clews & Co Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 5

1939 George Clews Belisha Grey WW1 Howitzer Field Cannon Teapot

George Clews & Co Pottery: Snippet Of The Day Number 5

Not many people will probably have heard of the Staffordshire based George Clews & Co Pottery, unless you are a collector of teapots or their studio art pottery Chameleon Ware. In which case, you will be a connoisseur of their beautiful and innovative designs!

The earthenware manufacturer was established in 1906 at the Progressive Works in Burslem, prior to moving to Brownhills Pottery in Tunstall. Although the firm was called George Clews, it was actually managed by his son, Percy. Teapots were the mainstay of production at the pottery. Manufacture even continued during World War 2 (WW2).

1939 George Clews Belisha Grey WW1 Howitzer Field Cannon Teapot
1939 George Clews Belisha Grey WW1 Howitzer Field Cannon Teapot

Clews produced teapots, and accessories, for domestic use, hotels and ocean liners. Along with several other manufacturers, including Johnson (original designer and owner of the Cube Teapots Ltd). They produced the ‘cube’ teapots for the iconic Cunard Ocean liners, Queen Mary (1936) and Queen Elizabeth (1946). These cleverly designed teapots were cube shaped to prevent them rolling around in rough seas. You can find a tea set at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.

 

George Clews & Co Pottery
George Clews Cube teapot, designed by Johnson, 1936

Their back mark comprised a printed globe mark with the name of the pattern or the company on the central band. You can barely make out the back mark on the left hand image below. This is not to be confused with the fairly similar back mark used by Arthur Wood: right image.

Chameleon Ware was introduced as a trade name in 1906 but studio art pottery wasn’t introduced until 1913. Initially the back mark was impressed with the name Chameleon before moving to a printed mark in 1935.

Art Deco Clews & Co. Chameleon Ware 1930s Hand Painted Jug Vase
Art Deco Clews & Co. Chameleon Ware 1930s Hand Painted Jug Vase

The handpainted Chameleon ware reached the height of its popularity during the 1930s Art Deco period when production exceeded that of the teapots! Abstract shapes and patterns; Egyptian and Persian inspired shapes were all the rage, and produced in matt or lustre glazes. Animal figurines were also produced in the range using the same, predominantly green/ blue/ brown, colour palette as the art pottery.

Art Deco Clews & Co. Chameleon Ware 1930s Hand Painted Jug Vase
Art Deco Clews & Co. Chameleon Ware 1930s Hand Painted Jug Vase

WW2 brought an end to the manufacture of Chameleon Ware and, despite modernisation of the factory in the late 1940s, the business eventually went into liquidation in 1961.

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Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot. Snippet Of The Day Number 4

Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot.

Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot. Snippet Of The Day Number 4

Do you know how a ‘Thermos’ flask keeps your tea warm, or any thermal mug or flask for that matter? Well, this remarkable ‘ever hot’ phenomenon is based on the principle of the vacuum flask invented by James Dewar in 1892! A very simple design, which basically comprises a sealed double walled container, made of e.g. glass or metal, with a partial vacuum between each layer. As shown in the schematic below.

Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot.
Vacuum Flask. Double wall insulating container sealed at the neck, with a partial vacuum between the two layers.

The presence of the vacuum slows down the heat transfer by conduction and convection from the inner container. Rate of heat loss can be assessed thermodynamically but that is a bit more complicated and definitely outside the scope of this blog!

Dewar decided not to patent or copyright his invention, which was soon improved, superseded and copyrighted by the German company ‘Thermos’. Hence, you are more likely to hear vacuum flasks called ‘Thermos,’ in a domestic setting.  In  Science Laboratories and in industrial settings, they are often still referred to as ‘Dewar flasks.’

Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot by Perry, Bevan and Co

Most tea drinkers know about the problems of lukewarm tea when making a ‘proper’ cup of tea in a teapot. You warm your pot with boiling water and then brew your tea for at least three minutes. In that three minutes your tea can lose an awful lot of heat due to heat loss from the teapot itself. If you want a second cup from the pot you had to find a way of reducing the heat loss.

Until late Victorian times, this was achieved via the tea cosy. {The designs and shapes of this very useful household item deserves a blog in its own right! I have fond memories of my Grandmother knitting or crocheting a tea cosy to fit the 2-cup, 4-cup and 8-cup Brown Betty teapots she owned.}  This was until the 1950s when Perry, Bevan & Co. patented the Ever-Hot tea service. At the time, Ever hot The 1950s Thermal Teapot was a very innovative design negating the need for the lovely knitted or crocheted tea cosy!

This is a contemporary advert for the patented Ever-Hot tea service by Perry, Bevan and Co. They were based at 133 Priory Road, Aston, Birmingham. The company was listed as Brass Founders in the 1940s, in addition to manufacturers of Chrome ware.

ever-hot-advert-tiff

The earthenware teapot comprises a felt-lined chrome plated insulating casing, with a built-in lid. This doesn’t create a vacuum in the same way as a thermos/ dewar flask, but does provide some insulation with its two layers. Some teapots also had a separate tea strainer, that sat inside the pot, so that you could add the tea leaves directly to the pot. The felt could be removed and washed too! Needless to say that this design was also superseded by the arrival of more modern manufacturing methods and materials.

1950s Vintage Everhot Tall Teapot, Milk Jug, Sugar Bowl
1950s Vintage Everhot Tall Teapot, Milk Jug, Sugar Bowl

 

 

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Royal Worcester Porcelain: Snippet Of The Day Number Three

Vintage Royal Worcester Evesham Gold Storage Jar/ Marmite Pot/ Bean Pot

Royal Worcester Porcelain: Snippet Of The Day Number Three

When I decided to write a mini blog on Royal Worcester Porcelain, it was with some trepidation, as it has such a long and interesting history! I’m not sure I can do such an iconic company justice with just a few hundred words!

The company was founded back in 1751 by Dr John Wall (a Physician) and William Davis (an apothecary). They developed a method for producing porcelain and obtained investment to purchase a factory at Warmstry House, Worcester, England.

Royal Worcester Porcelain
18th Century Royal Worcester Plate

Royal Worcester porcelain is believed to be the oldest or second oldest remaining English porcelain brand still in existence today. Royal Crown Derby was established about the same time, so there is some debate as to which came first!

Early production at the Royal Worcester factory was rather haphazard. Significant improvements were made after the purchase of Benjamin Lund’s Bristol company, which brought additional technical expertise in to the company.

Worcester also obtained licences to mine soapstone in Cornwall. Worcester soapstone porcelain did not crack when boiling water was poured into it. This gave Worcester a significant advantage over other manufacturers.

The pottery have had some wonderful designers, potters, and artists through the decades. Here are a few of my favourite 19th and 20th Century landscape and animal painters. Many of these pieces sell for thousands of pounds!

Royal Worcester Evesham Gold

The most enduring pattern produced by the porcelain manufacturer is “Evesham Gold.” First produced in 1961, it is still manufactured today. The pattern was named after the Vale of Evesham, an area of outstanding natural beauty in Worcestershire, England and famed for it’s autumnal fruits, which are depicted on the porcelain.

In 1976, Royal Worcester merged with Spode and production switched to factories in Stoke and abroad. The company has been part of the Portmeirion Pottery Group (Stoke- on- Trent) since 2009. Unfortunately, both the Royal Worcester and Spode Manufacturing facilities were shut down.

The Royal Worcester Museum is the only part of Royal Worcester left. The museum is currently closed for refurbishment but is well worth a visit! It was originally named after Charles William Dyson Perrins, whom took ownership of the Worcester factory in 1927. If that name sounds familiar it will be to those whom love Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce! 

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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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What is Ironstone? Snippet Of The Day Number 1

Vintage Masons Ironstone Toothpick Holder Mandarin pattern

What is Ironstone? Snippet Of The Day Number 1

Today, I thought I would share with you What is Ironstone? Snippet Of The Day Number 1. This is a mini-blog about Ironstone, as you probably expected from the title!

Charles James Mason registered the patent name ‘IRONSTONE’ in 1813 for the ‘Improvement of the Manufacture of English Porcelain, IRONSTONE PATENT CHINA:’ Patent number 3724. The name was soon adopted by competitors, whom were using similar materials.

Mason wasn’t the first manufacturer to actually produce ironstone. This accolade is usually attributed to William Turner of Lane End Potteries, Staffordshire, UK in 1800. He sold his patent to Spode whom produced the bluish/ white ironstone many of us are familiar with.

1990s Blue Spode Italian 1816 Reproduction Mantel Clock S3624Y
1990s Blue Spode Italian 1816 Reproduction Mantel Clock S3624Y

Contrary to popular belief, Ironstone does not contain iron! The name is derived from its ‘iron-like’ strength and durability.

Ironstone is an earthenware vitreous pottery with stoneware appearance and properties. It was mass produced as a cheaper alternative to porcelain.

Famous British Manufacturer’s of Ironstone (Earthenware) include Spode; Mason’s; T&R Boote, Swadlincote Potteries amongst many others.

What is Ironstone? Snippet Of The Day Number 1
1850 Mason’s Chinoiserie mug

In 1922, Mason’s Ironstone introduced Amber Glaze described as ‘a ground colour of the ware, is a soft pale Ivory and the colouring unusually fine.’ Minuet was the first pattern produced in this new glaze and Mandarin soon followed.

Vintage Masons Ironstone Toothpick Holder Mandarin pattern
Vintage Masons Ironstone Toothpick Holder Mandarin pattern

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