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Staffordshire, England has been a district making pottery and porcelain since the 1700s. Some of the most famous factories include Adams, Davenport, Ridgway, Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Spode, and Wedgwood.

Many potteries were established in the Staffordshire district of England in the early 1700s, and many are some remain in operation today. The well known Staffordshire dogs were well known subjects, but figurines and groups were made in large numbers. Sizes ranged from perhaps 3" to the largest measuring up to about 20". The period from about 1850 through 1900 was the high point of Staffordshire portraiture on porcelain, representing many historical as well as fictitious personalities. Staffordshire "Blue Ware" was produced from about 1820, much for export to America and often decorated with scenic views of well known U. S. landmarks. Early works were distinguished by the use of a very deep cobalt. By 1830 a softer blue was favored, and within the next decade black, pink, red, and green prints were used. Although sometimes careless about adding their trademark, many companies used their own border designs that were as individual as their names.

English stoneware was made on a large scale only after the late 17th century. The best of Staffordshire white salt-glazed stoneware was made between 1720 and 1760. Staffordshire was also a centre for creamware, a popular lead-glazed earthenware made of Devonshire white clay mixed with calcined flint. In 1754 the English ceramist Josiah Wedgwood began to experiment with coloured creamware. He established his own factory. In Stoke, in 1800, Josiah Spode began the manufacture of porcelain ornamented with designs inspired by eastern art, and his son, also Josiah, later mixed kaolin, feldspar, and bone ash to make "bone" china.

Josiah Spode 1733-1797

Josiah Wedgwood 1730-1795
The successful development of bone china by the Spode factory at Stoke-on-Trent (1776-present), for wares of outstanding beauty and economy in the Regency style of the early 1800s, ensured its preeminence among commercial producers. Josiah Spode, a former apprentice of the great Staffordshire potter Thomas Whieldon, and continued by his son Josiah Spode II. He built up a highly successful business, first in creamware (a delicate cream-coloured earthenware) and later (from 1784) in pearlware (fine white-glazed earthenware) transfer-printed in blue; his son, also trained as a potter, ran the firm's warehouse in London.Spode's nearest rival was Minton (1796-present), outstanding in the Victorian period for its "art" porcelains. Among Spode's chief followers in producing bone china for the mass market were Davenport (c. 1793-1887); Wedgwood for a short period between 1812 and 1822; Ridgway, New Hall, and Rockingham.

 Josiah Wedgwood was born in Burslem, Staffordshire on July 12, 1730 into a family with a long tradition as potters. At the age of nine, after the death of his father, he worked in his family's pottery. In 1754  Wedgwood began to experiment with coloured creamware. He established his own factory, but often worked with others who did transfer printing (introduced by the Worcester Porcelain Company in the 1750s). He also produced red stoneware; basaltes ware, an unglazed black stoneware; and jasperware, made of white stoneware clay that had been coloured by the addition of metal oxides. Jasperware was usually ornamented with white relief portraits or Greek Classical scenes. Wedgwood's greatest contribution to European ceramics, however, was his fine pearlware, an extremely pale creamware with a bluish tint to its glaze.

Wedgwood's basalt, a hard, black stone-like material was used for vases, candlesticks, and realistic busts of historical figures. Jasperware, his most successful innovation, was a durable unglazed work that was most characteristically blue with fine white cameo figures inspired by the ancient Roman Portland vase. Many of the finest designs were the work of the British artist John Flaxman.

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