Stone staffordshire dating

(Furnishing replacements to the owners of battered 18th century services was undoubtedly a useful introduction to a client).

Having begun his ceramic career as a London retailer, it is not surprising that Miles Mason simply moved his production along lines familiar to his clients and himself as 'Chinaman'.

Miles' prudent marriage in 1782 to the late proprietor's daughter brought him to the forefront of the Farrar business.

Then, as since, it was common for the ceramics auction room to be dominated by 'rings', consortia if dealers clubbing together to inhibit and suppress auction prices.

With their bank foreclosing on the concern, the Mason's factory was closed in 1851 (some production continued for a few years).

That his precautions were well-founded is testified by the subsequent roll-call of no less than 172 ironstone manufacturing firms established or merged in Staffordshire since the early 1800s, many using a style of mark intended to suggest a Mason's origin.

Large hall vases with dragon finials and cornucopia handles; chimney pieces moulded with birds in branches; sets of graduated jugs with human-headed green dragons forming handles; such pieces, arresting, monumental and robust, may be covered in a Chinese landscape design containing full-blown peonies or a mandarin family out of doors, the underglaze-blue outlines and washes at first usually hand painted and later printed, the enamel colours, often more brilliant than the Chinese, added by hand and enriched with gilding.

Or the vase may be entirely dipped in a rich cobalt blue, glazed, fired and then enamelled with delicate flowers or boldly gilt with foliate designs.

However, with the bankruptcy and termination of the Turner partnership in 1806, it is believed that the patent may have passed to Josiah Spode.

Certainly Spode was soon to produce some of the technically finest specimens of stone china of the 19th century - and indeed he may already have been doing so by 1813, the year in which Charles James Mason registered the patent cementing the name 'ironstone' for the next two centuries.

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Mason's patent expired in 1827, by which time competitors with similar products were already under way.

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