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New Hall (Maker)

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markNew Hall was the first firm to make a commercially successful porcelain in Staffordshire. In 1782, a consortium of Staffordshire potters led by Jacob Warburton and Samuel Hollins purchased from Richard Champion the patent he had acquired for the manufacture of a porcelain using the native raw materials of Cornwall china stone and china clay.  Champion had made porcelain at his Bristol factory utilising the Oriental technique of a lower temperature biscuit firing followed by a high temperature glost firing.  The Staffordshire purchasers did not employ the Bristol process, probably regarding the high temperatures involved as uneconomic, and produced a porcelain made in the earthenware manner of a higher biscuit firing, followed by a lower glost one, adding lead to the glaze to ensure a fit to the body.[1] The ware produced by this process has become known to collectors and ceramic historians as hybrid hard paste porcelain. New Hall continued to manufacture porcelain of this type until around 1814, when it changed to using the standard bone china body developed by the Spode factory which by that date had become the industry standard.

The New Hall porcelains were fired in a reducing atmosphere which gave the wares a greyish cast: the glaze contained myriad small gas bubbles, producing a slightly iridescent effect.  The decoration initially applied to this body consisted principally of simply painted floral sprays accompanied by a variety of figured borders.  Some simple gilded patterns were also employed at an early date and by the middle of the 1780s a few blue printed patterns had been introduced.  Before the close of the 1780s the range of decoration had been extended to include expensive patterns in enamels and gold and fine quality painting.  Teawares formed the predominant part of the output and the success of the firm can be gauged by the number of competitors who quickly commenced making similar type wares.

Five blue printed patterns on teawares can be dated to the 1780s by reference to the shapes upon which they appear: Mandarin or Emerging Boat, Gazebo, Man on the Bridge, Doves and Willow and Chinese Children.[2] With the exception of the first, all these patterns seem to have been discontinued by the close of that decade and were superseded by Trench Mortar, Two Moths, Two Ducks and the rare Bird in the Tree.[3] Most of these patterns continued to be produced until well into the 19th century; the ubiquitous Broseley pattern was added along the way, together with another late pattern, Verandah or Pavilion.[4]

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[1] See ‘New Hall Porcelain’ by G.E. Stringer, Art Trade Press 1949, pages 39-41 and ‘New Hall and its Imitators’ by David Holgate, Faber & Faber 1971, Chapter4.
[2] Some blue printed floral sprays are also to be found on utilitarian wares e.g. knife and fork handles and asparagus servers, and on a couple of very rare and unusual other items.
[3] All these patterns are illustrated in Chapter VII of ‘New Hall Porcelains’ by Geoffrey Godden, Antique Collectors’ Club 2004.
[4] Illustrated on page 137 of  ‘A Partial Reconstruction of the New Hall Pattern Book’ by Pat Preller, privately published 2003.