Royal Worcester Porcelain
Worcester Pottery Has A long Interesting History
By Sharon Stajda,
Did you know it was first produced in an old mansion? "The Warmstry House" which was leased, and adapted to the purpose of a pottery factory."
In the mid 18th century some very prominent residents of Worcester England were deeply concerned at the languishing industrial condition of the city. A gentleman by the name of Doctor John Wall came up with a plan to establish a pottery company. He hoped to manufacture fine china, and in turn, help remedy the growing poor economy of Worcester. In the year 1751 fifteen of the cities gentlemen incorporated, and the company of "Worcester Tonkin" was born. The company was housed in an old mansion "The Warmstry House" which was leased and adapted to the purpose of a factory.
Actual partners had little to no experience in the skill of producing porcelain. The historical document shows the names of two gentlemen that did hold to the secret to making fine porcelain. It is felt that R. Podmore, and J. Lyes where the skilled workmen that were hired away from other pottery companies, and with them brought the secret to making the very formulas to make fine porcelain. Both men were promised in the shape of occasional gratuities and small percentages of profits, to ensure their loyalty.
In the startup era, only small article’s were made, due to lack of kiln capacity. By late 1752 the business was prospering and began manufacturing complete sets of tableware’s, and many other useful household items.
While the company aimed to make attractive china, they also recognized a need to produce china that would hold up to everyday use. Many of the days most popular companies, such as Chelsea or Bow were turning out china that was well liked, mostly due to its beautiful design and frail fine porcelain. Worcester strives to make China not only attractive in its design but worthy of everyday use. The finer porcelain mixture did not stand up to water temperature changes, and would very easily crack with temperature change.At the same time, the Chinese were producing very fine porcelain that held up well to changing temperatures, and were very durable, yet fine and had a good design. Worcester began producing china with a denser, heavier bodied porcelain.
In 1776, Dr. Wall died, and the company was soon showing signs of trouble, and poor revenue, resulted. In 1783 a Thomas Flight, who had worked as a company agent from its very early years, bought Worcester for the sum of 3000 English pounds. Flight and his two sons (Joseph and John) assumed the management of the pottery works.
In 1793 a Martin Barr was taken into partnership, and the company was now Flight & Barr. In 1807, Barr ‘s son " by the same name was admitted to the partnership, and the firm became Barr, Flight, And Barr. In 1829 the last of the Flights died, and the company was to be carried on by the Barrs.
Finally, in 1840 the Worcester became partners with Chamberlain Pottery Company, to become Worcester Royal Porcelain Company, which is in business to this day.
Worcester -- Hallmark Used In 1876 - 1891
This is a mark that was adopted in 1876 used as is until 1891 when the words Royal Worcester was added to the hallmark.
The '51' stands for the year 1751. When the factory first started with Dr. Wall. You will also note the letter W used several times in the circle of the mark.
The 'C,' which I have heard described as meaning possibly denoting 'circa' is, in fact, a derivation of the crescent mark first used in the first period of the company. And was present in the coat of arms on the wall of Warmstry House where the very first factory was housed. It is also speculation that it stands for Chamberlain. The Chamberlain Company merged with Worcester in the year 1840. Chamberlain had also worked for the startup Worcester company as an artist and head designer before leaving and starting his own company in the year 1783.
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Guide To Pottery And Porcelain Marks
This extensive compilation of pottery and porcelain marks will appeal to the ceramic collector and novice alike. Marks, initials, and signatures representing manufacturers from over 20 countries will aid anyone interested in tracing the history and origin of ceramics.