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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tea Cup Tuesday-English Pottery

(Green ground laid color with guilding on this beautiful 1840's cup)

Hello All, and welcome to Tea Cup Tuesday!

Today I will be sharing about my visit to the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke-On-Trent, England. This museum is the only complete Victorian pottery factory, keeping safe the history of pottery in North Staffordshire, England. I was quite fascinated to see this preserved factory that began in 1787 and closed it's door's in 1974, after being saved from demolition when it was realized that if it was removed, there would be no more coal fueled bottle kilns left that represent the history of fine china production.

This is the inner courtyard, the bricks having been worn smooth with thousands of workers footsteps.

This is called a saggar they were created specially at the factory from local clay to stack the china in to go in to the kiln. There was an art to creating them properly.

The three ingredients that make porcelain china.

Moulds that were used to form tea cups.

Here is a pictures of a saggar that was stacked for the kiln.

Here are two of the bottle kilns. There is the bottle shaped exterior and the coal burning kiln sits inside this bottle.

Peering into the narrow doorway showing a fully stacked kiln.

One of the coal burning furnaces that ring the kiln.

A group of pottery workers.

Another group of workers...they don't seem too unhappy. Yet when you read the details of their working conditions you see how difficult it really was. Most workers were paid by the piece, and if it was fine going into the kiln, but somehow the firing failed and all the pieces of china were ruined, they would not get paid at all. They were only paid for pieces that came out of the kiln in saleable condition. Eventually there was a law passed that changed this, and they were paid for pieces that were good quality when they went into the kiln. And that is only one of the difficulties. Many of the jobs included serious health risks, as well as the fact that a child as young as 5 could be working there all day too. It wasn't until about the 1900's that children were not permitted to work at the factory.

Hundreds of moulds left sitting on the shelves.

We toured many areas of the factory, the clay room, the slip room, the plate making area... and in one room was a man doing fine painting. He was very interesting to speak to. This tiny tea set he made for his wife. He said the dots were much harder to paint than the actual scene. This set is in 1:12th scale.

This photo is taken through the glass into the chemist's office, where he measured out the powders for paints.

Paints stored in jars.

I felt very lucky to get a glimpse of this book through the post office window. It is a very old pattern book. The artists would paint in and number the pattern in the book.

This museum is such a learning experience. I now have a much better idea of how some of my tea cups were made. I also have more appreciation for the people who created them.

I want to thank each of you who joined in T.T. last week. I am sorry to say that I have not visited any of you yet! We have had very spotty Internet. I am very lucky tonight that I have had the chance to create this post. I will catch up with all of you when I return home.

If you would like to join in this week. Just go and create a post with your tea cup in it and then come back here and link below with the actually post you are linking up. Martha and I look forward to seeing your gorgeous china!

Hugs to you all.



Marjanne said...

Thisis such an interesting story! Thank you for this!

Marfi-topia said...

how interesting, thank you for all the photos:)

Holly Loves Art said...

Thank you for this wonderful peek into history. GREAT photos depicting the story. Loved it.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Terri, what an extraordinary tour you have taken us on! Simply outstanding photos and history you have shared today; thank you. I love the teacup in your first photo and the tiny tea set is adorable! Enjoy your trip.


Martha's Favorites said...

Hi Terri: Thanks for the Linky! I love reading about what you are doing. It seems like a dream come true. Have a wonderful time. Take lots of pictures, I can't wait to see it all. Hugs, Martha

Princesa Nadie said...

Dear Terry
You are lucky travelling to England so often and visiting all those interesting places for a Tea Cup lover
During the weekend I found a new Tea Cup for my collection and I show it today

Tea & Chocolate Guy said...

WOW! how fascinating and what a privilege to visit the factory. Thank you for sharing your tour with us. Your photos were beautiful. Safe journey home..HHL

Snap said...

Terri, I bet you've been in seventh heaven! Wonderful story and love that tea cup! Happy Tea Day!

La said...

What a fascinating tour. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Have a wonderful week! La

Antiques And Teacups said...

Visiting the factories in the UK is was always a favorite thing. So glad you got to Gladstone...a great museum. The last still WORKING Victorian pottery...Burleigh...has just been put under protection status by the Prince's Trust. I was so glad to know it will still be there! Isn't the process fabulous? Thanks so much for your wonderful post!

Marlynn said...

Loved your post! Happy vacationing! Colorado Jan and I have been plotting and up to no good for the trip in March!!! More when you return.

Micupoftea said...

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this with us. I hope you are really enjoying your trip.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Oh my....this was really intersting. I always love learning about history. This was really neat ;) :) Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour ;) :) Have a great week. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Marianne C. said...

Terri, I am so happy to hear you are having a wonderful time in England. The teacup/saucer you featured is just lovely!

Wow - how interesting to read all about the factory. Getting a closer look at the crammed kiln and some of what goes into making such a beautiful item is daunting. The finished product seems such so far removed from the grueling process at that time.

I thought it was interesting that they would paint the design in the record book. Also, I am always enthralled with seeing things like the stones worn away from years of being tread upon.

Thank you for sharing all of this, and continue to enjoy yourself.


Anonymous said...

Terri - This was a fascinating story! I loved all the informative photos and details you shared - such an arduous craft that we take for granted. Thank you for giving me a greater appreciation for these fragile art forms. What a blessing to be touring England! Look forward to more stories and pictures!
Miss Kathy

joanne fox said...

Wonderful photos, that looks a fascinating place to visit. Maybe I will make it there some time, as it's probably only about 50 miles from where we live. I particular love to look at the faces of people in old photographs, wondering who they were and what their lives were like.

Julia Dunnit said...

Love your choice of cup today - quite beautiful. Intersting isn't it, that we call Stoke and the area 'the Potteries' but really it should be the 'bone china-eries' for I've never met a potter who didn't go to lengths to explain the differences. My 'thing' for china is about the painting - all that handwork on each piece, carefully and patiently painted with no idea of who it was being painted for...
no wonder I feel obliged to collect and love it!

Johanna said...

Hello Terri,
oh, that was an amazing tour trough that old factory. Isn't that unbelievable, that the workers made with just their hands such fine quality china? When I thin how many pieces have left over the decades those factory and a few are quite in our shelfes. Aren't that real tresures? The cup you showed at first is wonderful. Thank you so much for providing us all this interesting informatons and for making this post so interesting.
Best greetings, Johanna

Sugar Lump Studios said...

Lovely story and such a gorgeous teacup! I love the unusual color combination.

Shortbread and Ginger said...

Very interesting post, thank you!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Maria Andrade said...

Hi Terri,
What a superb guided tour you provided us this week!
My post today was inspired by your last ones from England.
Congratulations for the interesting posts and thank you very much for sharing.

Suz said...

What an incredible experience! I truly felt like I was there.

♥ Miss Tea said...

Oh wow, seems like a very wonderful trip, lovely photos and i love that old book in the post office, i think i'm going to visit there someday, it's on my wish list! love your teacup as usual! thank you for sharing!


Little Birdie Blessings said...

What a wonderful post. I bet it does give you a better appreciation for your china cups after touring the museum. The pattern book - what a treasure. Can you imagine being curled up on the couch drinking tea, gingerly leafing through the patterns. Thanks for sharing. ~ Abby

karen hess jewelry said...

Thank you so much for sharing this intriguing and beautiful story...and I LOVED the pix! Your china is stunning!

Screaming Sardine said...

Thanks so much for sharing this very interesting tour. I found it so fascinating I had to share it on twitter - linking to your post, of course.

Tracy Screaming Sardine

Ana Cristina Caldatto said...

uaau que maravilha voce compartilhar as fotos da Olaria!

grata pelo carinho da postagem e belas fotos!

Jann said...

Very interesting info about the factory--and great photos! The teacup is GORGEOUS!

Unknown said...

This was such a fun and interesting post, wow. That cup is extraordinary. Your experience must be out of this world. Safe travels.

Victoria said...

Wow..what an amazing post!! Firstly i want that cup..oh my!! Thankyou for taking me on such a special adventure...I loved seeing where the cups were made and the kiln..how magnificent...that old book also really captivated me...your photos are stunning, soulful and heartwarming...such a gentle energy and presence in them all!! Thankyou Terri...this was such a spectacular treat and inside peek to such magic!!
you are awesome!!

Cinderella Moments said...

Fabulous tea cup! Ant the factory is amazing. The factory buildings are beautiful. And wouldn't it be great to own that book!

Createology said...

How wonderful to get to visit this preserved china producing factory. Very interesting photos and descriptions. I am glad to get to visit vicariously. Safe travels my dear...

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

Terri, this is a fascinating post. I do pottery in both ceramics and china, so this was a great post to read. You are right, the workers don't look unhappy. We always hear of horrid conditions from back then. Those are the two biggest kilns I've ever seen.
Thanks for hosting.

Julie Goucher said...

Great post, and I am delighted to have found your blog. Off now to read some more!

Kathy said...

Amazing! So glad it was not torn down! I truly appreciate these little works of art all the more!
Fantastic - thank you for sharing!

Elaine A said...

Terri -

Thank you so much for sharing with us and for the historical information. I'm a history buff so I loved what you posted today. I hope you are having a grand time?

Elaine Allen

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing a wealth of information! This is among the most fascinating blogs I've ever read. Beautiful, too!

Lovey said...

Awesome story! Thanks Terri!

Lady Linda said...

Oh Terri, just had time to visit your blog and what a wonderful experience-for you and for those of us lucky enough to share your post. Fascinating!
Lady Linda

Dorthe said...

Hi dear Terri, Just a short hello,
I`m on my way around to favorite bloggers, after one week without visiting. My family is gone, and the normal day, starts again ---
Your post is very interesting and I have to come back to read it again. Also the teacup is a sooo beautiful piece.
Hugs, Dorthe

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