Archive for Basics
As mentioned in my post “How old is my pot? Useful pointers to dating part 3″ one of the best resources you can have when looking at the bottom of Antique Pottery is a “Book of Marks”.
Here are my favourites:
(If you only buy one get this one)
Handbook of Pottery and Porcelain Marks – J Cushion
(This has an excellent section on Registration numbers)
British Studio Potters Marks – Yates-Owen and Fournier
Millers Pottery and Porcelain Marks – G Lang
Cheap but very useful especially for pictorial marks
Pottery and Porcelain Marks (European, Oriental and USA) - E.George Perrott
Directory of European Porcelain - Ludwig Danckert
Some of these are quite costly and would not be worth buying unless you have lots of pots to identify. If you have just one or two you can always send me a .jpg of the pot and its backstamp and I will see if I can help
Comming soon: Websites that can help date your Antique Pottery and Porcelain from the backstamps
This is the final part of my guide to dating you antique pottery. Here is a look at manufacturer Trademarks and how to decipher them.
If you are planning to decipher lots of backstamps you will need reference books and websites which can help – I will list these in the next post. Before these websites and books can be of any help you need to read the backstamps.
Backstamps come in several varieties: hand painted under or over glaze, printed under or over glaze, incised, molded and impressed are just a few which spring to mind. It is useful to tell the difference as any one manufacturer may have used different methods at different times in their history. For example
Derby have hand painted backstamps in the Victorian era and printed ones nowadays.
How to date a pot from the marks on the base?
There are a wide variety of potters marks placed on the bases of pots. Just try turning a few over and see what you can find. You can buy books and find internet sites which help to trace the manufacturer and date of manufacture from these marks ( more on this later) – in the mean time here are a few ideas which should help without the need to go any further.
The Word England was placed on the base of pots as the country of manufacture was required by the McKinley Tarriff Act from 1891. Pots with England on the base will date after this time. This was upgraded to Made in England circa 1920
Words like “ Ltd” after the company name and the word “Royal” or a Royal Coat of Arms will mean that the item is Victorian at the very earliest as would a pattern name on the base of your pot.
Oven Proof, Microwave Safe and Dishwasher Safe are all later 20th Century inovations a Bar code on the base would never be found pre-1970s.
Bone China, Fine China are both 20th Century and I am told that Great Britain is a mid 20th century term.
Do you have any more general rules that I can add to this list?
Part 3 of “How old is my Pot” will cover looking up the date from the manufacturers trade marks
How old is my pot ? Useful pointers to dating ~ Part 1
The easiest way to date a pot is often from a manufacturers backstamp. But what if the base has no markings at all? What clues can be used to help with dating?
We can look at several factors and see when they were introduced ( therefore the earliest the pot can date from) and when they were most fashionable ( therefore most likely that the pot will date from).
- Type of glaze
- Type of decoration
- Style of pot
- Function of the item
Here is an example:
This pot was purpose built as an electric lamp with space for the fittings. This piece therefore has to post date the introduction of electricity. The style of the design is quite post-war modernist which would date it from between 1950s and 1970s. The decoration is hand pained under the glaze and the body is earthenware which would fit with a piece of art pottery from the same era.
A second example:
This tile has a majolica glaze, a Victorian aesthetic design and is about 12 mm thick. Majolica glazes ceased to be used in the early 20th century as they were toxic to the potters and so from the glaze it could date from the mid Victorian era to circa 1920s. However, the Japonaise / Victorian aesthetic stylised leaf design were first fashionable in the 1870s and as the tile is quite thick it is most likely that this tile dates from this era rather than in the late Victorian era or the early 1900s
What is a pot pade of? This is one of the basic questions to answer when you are looking at a piece of ceramics.
The basic types of ceramics can be categorised as:
- Porcelain ( Made with the inclusion of China Clay in the body). It is finer and more translucent than pottery. Pots tend to be lighter weight and more delicate. The easiest distinction is to shine a light into a pot. If you can see the light though it it is most likely to be Porcelain. There are two main types:
- Hard Paste ( most porcelain found today). This is used for most ” China” produced in Britain examples of which can be found from many of the best manufactures and seen on www.AntiquesAvenue.co.uk Fine China pages. A chipped piece can have a shell like edge which helps to determine that the piece is porcelain.
- Soft Paste ( early European porcelain)
- Pottery. Thicker walled and more solid than porcealin. Light does not show through a pottery body. Pottery needs to be glazed before use with liquids as it is pourous in its unglazed state. The main types are:
- Earthenware. Lightly fired and unglaze it is known as “Terracotta”. Earthenware pots were the earliest type of pots produced in Britain. The clay is quite coarse. These examples of Devon and Cornwall pottery are made of Earthenware. This is quite a soft body and chips easily.
- Stoneware ( fired at a very high temperature) is harder and more durable than Earthenware. A good example of Stoneware used today can be seen in Denby Pottery.
Ok so you’ve decided to collect ceramics or your looking at an old pot and want to know a bit more about it.
Here is Anne’s AntiquesAvenue guide to the things you should be able to discover about your pot. I will be posting more detail on each one over the comming few days.
The basic types are: Pottery, Porcelain and StoneWare
Part 1:Yes, you can get a good ideas even if there is no manufacturers backstamp. Useful pointers to dating you pot
Part 2: How to date pots from the marks on the back
- Who made it?
How to decipher a backstamp
- What form is it and how was it built?
Ceramics are in all sorts of forms from Flat tiles, through vessels such as jugs and vases to ceramic figurines. Hand thrown or slip moulded?
How is it decorated?
Transfer printed or hand painted? Glazed or not? And what type of glaze?
Whats it worth, note I’ve put this last as its often easiest to determine a value when you know the answers to the questions above