A Longton Hall Bowl, circa 1755

This Longton Hall bowl is painted in underglaze blue with an oriental-inspired garden scene in which a large peony appears to issue from a crooked fence. At one end of the fence is a sloping rock or fungus from which grows a trailing prunus. The reverse is painted with a bird in flight, probably a swallow, chasing a butterfly. The interior of the bowl is painted with a large peony-type flower.

Typically unmarked.

One name synonymous with Longton Hall is that of the entrepreneur William Littler, and it is under his guidance that porcelain was successfully manufactured at Longton Hall, Staffordshire, between the years 1749-60.

It is conceivable that Longton Hall ultimately failed in 1760 because their wares were too sophisticated for provincial taste, and Chelsea had already captured the fashionable London market. Also, Longton Hall useful wares could have been too delicate for everyday use, compared with those of Bow and Worcester.

Condition: There are two small flat chips, and one much smaller chip, all to the inner rim. There are also three chips to the foot rim and a couple of glazed chips, suggesting that some of the roughness may have been caused by the removal of kiln furniture from the base, after the bowl had been fired. There is a fault line in the glaze on the base which does not go through to the interior. In spite of the various faults, the bowl still rings like a bell, when tapped gently.

The paste contains the usual firing and potting irregularities often seen in Longton Hall, such as clay tears and firing cracks. Chelsea-like ‘moons’ caused by small air bubbles occurring in the body, can also be seen with the aid of transmitted light, and the paste has an opalescent green translucency. There is surface wear to the glaze, consistent with the use for which the bowl was intended.

This item would enhance any collection of early English blue and white porcelain.

Dimensions: Diameter 18.4 cm

Longton Hall Porcelain, Bernard Watney (Faber and Faber, 1957). 

Excavations at the Longton Hall porcelain manufactory. Part III: the porcelain and other ceramic finds, Bernard M. Watney (Post-Medieval Archaeology, Volume 27, 1993).