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18th Century English Earthenwares

Four Fresh pieces of English Earthenware, 18th century, just added to stock.


Creamware is the term for an English earthenware body with a definite ‘cream’ tone, popular in the latter half of the 18th century and replicated across Europe. It emerged from the experimentation of Staffordshire potters seeking a local alternative to expensive Chinese porcelain around 1750. Their innovation yielded a refined cream to white earthenware with a lustrous clear lead glaze, prized for its lightweight construction and pristine finish, making it ideal for household use.
It was not expensive to produce when compared with porcelain, but also not as robust; replacements were probably a necessity if you were using Creamware tea wares or tablewares. After its heyday in the 1780’s, Creamware remained popular well into the 20th century despite competition from other ceramic types. Today, it is valued for the pleasant off-white body and refined shapes often decorated with bright spontaneous on glaze enamel flowers.

Salt glaze

Salt glaze refers to a distinctive ceramic made by the English potters in the mid-18th century, with an ivory-white stoneware body lightly glazed with a clear covering having a texture resembling orange peel.
This forms on the white high-fired stoneware body when common salt is introduced into the kiln at its highest temperature. During firing, sodium from the salt reacts with silica present in the clay, resulting in the formation of a glassy sodium-silicate coating. This glaze can exhibit a range of slight hues, usually colourless but also found in shades of brown (due to iron oxide), blue (from cobalt oxide), or purple (from manganese oxide).

The result is a glistening white product, usually slip-cast and very lightweight & thin, yet also very tough. Forgive me for making the comparison, but it could be mistaken for a plastic! The glaze is transparent, and fits tight and thin against the body, meaning any moulded decoration is as sharp and crisp as the clay beneath. It has become a highly desireable field to collect in the English Earthenwares field.


The Chinese were fond of a red clay sourced near the city of Yi Xing, on the Yangtze River Delta. When Europeans started trading with them in the 17th century, the ‘Yixing Stonewares’ were a popular item. Naturally, the local European potters were keen to provide versions of this suddenly popular ware, and the potters of Delft, in Holland produced a ‘clone’ of the Chinese – often with the same decoration – in the latter 17th century, followed by the Eeler Brothers, Dutch silversmiths who came to London in the 1680’s and produced the first English redwares. Meissen was a latecomer, with J.J.Böttger discovering a fine high-fired red ware body now named after him in 1706. By the mid 18th century, the potters of Staffordshire and elsewhere were making Redwares.

Wedgwood c. 1820

Characterized by its rich reddish-brown hues derived from iron in the clay oxidising in the firing process, English Redware exemplified both utilitarian functionality and aesthetic charm. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, these pieces often featured simple yet elegant designs, at first copying the imported Chinese wares, but soon reflecting the prevailing tastes of the era. Commonly used for everyday household items such as teapots, jugs, and mugs, English redware found its place in both rural cottages and aristocratic homes alike. Despite its widespread popularity, redware production faced challenges from the emerging dominance of porcelain and other fine ceramics. Wedgwood brought it back to the tasteful table in the late 18th- early 19th century with a refined version they called ‘Rosso Antico’, and other firms through the Victorian era continued to make ‘redwares’ in small numbers. The original 18th-century English redware remains a testament to the skilled craftsmanship and enduring legacy of the era’s pottery traditions.


Jackfield Teapot close-up
Jackfield Teapot close-up

Jackfield is largely a generic name for a class of black/brown bodied earthenwares with a glossy ‘black’ glaze. I emphasise ‘black’ as close examination reveals it is actually made up of mostly dark brown tones, which combined with a dark-toned clay body appears black to the naked eye.

Jackfield Teapot
Jackfield Teapot c.1780

Traditionally this type of ware was said to be made at a pottery works located at Jackfield, near Coalport in Shropshire – which became the name for the type. But excavations and other evidence suggest that at the same time, such pieces were also made in Staffordshire and at other ceramic centres. The shapes and mouldings are often closely related to the other bodies detailed in this article, showing the black products were made alongside red wares , cream wares and salt glaze. Perhaps ‘black wares ‘ would be a more accurate name, but the ‘Jackfield’ name persists.

Decoration was hard, as the black surface didn’t allow for the usual decorative technique. Rare ‘cold-painted’ examples show that some were decorated in colourful oil paints, often with dedications and dates, painted onto a piece to order by a retailer, independent of the potteries.
Today, it is collected for the dramatic impact it makes in contrast to the usual white or off-white alternative wares.

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The Imari pattern

This week we are having a closer look at the highly popular Imari pattern.

The Imari pattern has a rich history steeped in Japanese culture and global trade.
Originating in the town of Arita on the island of Kyushu in the 17th century, Imari porcelain quickly gained popularity both domestically and internationally. Named after the port city of Imari, from where these exquisite wares were exported, the pattern typically features vibrant colours of underglaze cobalt blue, iron red, green, and gilt accents, often depicting asian motifs such as flower gardens, and landscapes. Initially, Imari porcelain was highly sought after by European aristocracy, sparking a craze known as “Imari-mania” in the West during the 17th and early 18th century. While China was a well-established trade route by this time, Japan was a little harder to access, and less Japanese Imari porcelain made its way to Europe. This scarcity led to it being priced at a premium, more expensive than Chinese equivalents, which were neither the same porcelain nor style.

When Japan closed it’s trading ports down, and almost all trade with foreigners was forbidden by Imperial edict in the early 18th century, the Europeans were devastated: they were Imari Addicts, and their source of Imari was suddenly taken away.

Enter the ever-opportunistic Chinese traders… mainland China quickly became Imari-experts, and mass production of Imai-style porcelain began in the first decades of the 18th century. By the mid-18th century, huge amounts of Imari ware was making its way by ship to England and the Continent. At the same time, the Europeans had also figured out the secret of making porcelain -and naturally, the first thing they replicated were the prestigeous and expensive Imari wares.
Japanese Imari is a beautiful product to collect, and is generally either the very early products, c. 1680-1720, with a large gap when production for export almost ceased, and then the re-opening of Japan in the mid-19th century. This sudden emergence of Japan in International Trade led to vast quantities of Imari porcelain once again finding its way to the West – and as the volume increased into the early 20th century, the price dropped. It’s still the same – early = expensive, later = less expensive.
Chinese products often appeal to a different collector, and are keenly sought after as well.

England rapidly became the largest producer of Imari wares in the early 19th century, where the richness of the tea wares perfectly matched the elegance of the Regency interiors. The Derby factory found a great demand for their particular take in Imari, for some reason later known as ‘witches pattern’. This classic English Imari continued to be made right through the 20th century, one of the true survivors in ceramic design.

Despite fluctuations in demand over the centuries, the allure of Imari porcelain endures, representing not only the exotic origin in Japanese ceramic artistry but also a testament to the enduring legacy of cross-cultural exchange and trade.

A pair of handsome baluster-vases & covers, painted with plump rabbits & with foo dog finials – late 17th century – at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong.
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Georgian Glass

This week we are highlighting Georgian glass .

Georgian glass, crafted during the reigns of the “Three George’s”, Kings of England from 1714 to 1820, holds a distinguished place in the history of glassmaking. Renowned for its elegance and craftsmanship, Georgian glass embodies the refinement of the era with its perfect proportions, intricate cut patterns, and quality of the body, achieved by adding lead. Skilled artisans of the time like George Ravenscroft revolutionised glass production, introducing lead oxide to create a glass of exceptional brilliance. Georgian glassware ranges from ornate goblets to intricately cut decanters, each piece a testament to the period’s aesthetic sensibility and technical innovation. Today, Georgian glass remains highly prized by collectors and enthusiasts for its timeless beauty and historical significance.

Have a browse of our Georgian Glass offerings….

To see our full range of Georgian glass view here>>>

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Fresh Stock – fans, furniture, & potlids.

Staffordshire at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Today we have a range of interesting items Fresh to for you to enjoy.

There’s a very respectable Mahogany display case, and a William IV Mahogany chest-of-draws with excellent colour.

Louis XVI – style Desk, c. 1875

The French ebonized desk is a rather flamboyant example of the latter 19th century interest in Louis XVI furniture – complete with inset hand-painted panels in the Sevres style.

Pratt Potlids at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia
Pratt Potlids at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong, Australia
English Majolica jardiniere & stand, c. 1870
English Majolica jardiniere & stand, c. 1870

There’s a nice group of Pottery to browse, including Staffordshire Figures of Theatrical characters, a collection of Pratt printed ‘pot lids’ from the 1850’s, including the sought-after Shakespeare images, and some Majolica.

The jardinière & stand shown here is magnificent, with life-size Lillies in the Aesthetic Movement style. While this has an impressed mark to the base ‘JAPAN’ – this is not indicating it was made there – it’s a typical example of English Majolica. Rather, the ‘JAPAN’ mark is indicating the pattern, referring to the source of inspiration for the Aesthetic Movement’s designers.