Monday, May 23, 2011

C is for China

China in this context refers to a type of fine pottery/table ware made from kaolin clay heralding from the Kao-ling area of China. This region set a standard for its exceptionally fine translucent porcelain that was unsurpassed until the late 18th C. Porcelain China can be one of three types based on the minerals which are added into the kaolin base: Hard Paste (from China for Centuries, grey/blue color, easily chipped), Soft Paste (from Europe to simulate Chinese porcelain, creamy color, fragile), and Bone China (Stoke-on-Trent, England by Josiah Spode, 1770, white color, translucent, durable). Wedgwood, founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1765, imitated hard paste porcelain and joined the ranks of Staffordshire manufacturers in producing fine china. In 1771 the Limoges region of France became noted for its beautiful, soft paste porcelain known to this day as Limoges.

Hard Paste China was imported by the boatload into the US during the late 19th C, via the East India Company of England. Pieces known as Canton and Nanking Ware were popularly decorated in the Blue Willow pattern and were affordable alternatives to the exquisite Bone China manufactured by Josiah Spode. As a ceramicist and chemist, Spode is credited with perfecting Fine Bone China as we know it today. Ox bone is incorporated into the kaolin clay mix, creating the whitest, strongest, most translucent china in the world. Spode China is still manufactured and graces the homes of heads of state, Royalty and Presidents.
Vintage pieces abound for the keen eye. Why not gather a few for your lovely home?

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