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Thomas Radford (Engraver)

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1The signature ‘T Radford sc[uplsit] DERBY’ with ‘1765’, and ‘Radford sculpsit DERBY’ with ‘Pot Work in DERBY’ are found on creamware made at the Cockpit Hill factory in Derby. Richard Holdship had made his agreement to print for the Derby porcelain factory in 1764, and it seems likely that Radford came to Derby about the same time.  Perhaps there was not enough work at the pottery to keep him busy for we find in 1766 Thomas Radford , engraver advertising that he intends to open a school in Derby  to teach ‘Drawing, Perspective, Writing…’ alternatively he offered to deliver similar classes in the pupils home.

Simeon Shaw in 1829 wrote that William Greatbatch in Staffordshire ‘had for some time a most rapid sale of teapots, on which was printed, in black, by Thomas Radford, the history of the Prodigal Son.’ Engravings in the same distinctive style on Greatbatch’s creamware include ‘the Twelve Houses of Heaven’ which is dated in the print January 4th 1778. Radford may well have moved to Staffordshire some time before the Cockpit Hill factory closed in 1779.

Radford’s association with Richard Holdship had evidently taught him also about underglaze printing, for Simeon Shaw writes that ‘Mr John Baddeley of Shelton some time employed Mr Thomas Radford to print Tea Services by an improved method of transferring the impression to the bisquet ware.’ In Chester & Mort’s Directory of 1796 Thomas Radford, engraver, Shelton is listed along with Thomas Radford junior. The Parish registers of Stoke-upon-Trent records the burial of Thomas Radford in August 1800, and references in  subsequent directories are like to be that of the son who continued the business and was listed in 1802 as having premises as an engraver in both Shelton and Stoke.  

To see Radford engraving in this exhibit click here