By Holtrop, Emily
School Arts , Vol. 103, No. 3
About the Artist
Porcelain is a hard, white, translucent ceramic which is made by firing a pure clay and then glazing it with variously colored fusible materials. Before the eighteenth century, it was only made in the Far East. European potters had been fascinated by this mysterious material for hundreds of years, and in Britain several manufacturers sought to discover the secrets of porcelain production.
According to company history, the series of events that led to the creation of a porcelain factory in Worcester, England is mostly unknown. As the story goes, the Worcester Royal Porcelain Company Limited was formed when Dr. John Wall and William Davis, an apothecary, conducted experiments at Davis's shop and discovered a method of making a porcelain type material. With their newly created material in hand, they then persuaded a group of thirteen local businessmen to back their discovery. A lease for a factory was taken out on May 16, 1751, and on June 4, the fifteen partners signed a deed to officially establish the Worcester Tonquin Manufacture. By 1789 the quality of the company's work was held in such high esteem that, following a visit to the factory, King George III granted the company the Royal Warrant as Manufacturers to their Majesties. Thus the word "Royal" was added to the name.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, the Worcester Royal Porcelain Company Limited achieved great success. The Victorians believed that good designs from the past should be modified and improved to create stylish new designs. They favored a mixture of period and foreign styles for the home. This desire for all things foreign led to a fascination with Oriental design. Victorian's used the term Oriental for any design from Asia, most notably those of Japan, Persia, and India. It was during this period that the influence of British rule throughout the world was at its strongest and for the first time, information about styles from the Far East was brought back to England and incorporated into the designs of everyday items.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, Royal Worcester displayed their fine works at many of the industrial expositions which were very popular at that time. At the Paris Exposition of 1878, Royal Worcester won the Legion D'Honour, and it is thought the Indian Vase (centerspread) was exhibited there. At the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, the largest exhibition to date, Royal Worcester created some of the most adventurous objects shown. The Seasons Vase, the largest vessel ever made by the company, was designed for the fair and was the centerpiece of the British Exhibit.
The Worcester Royal Porcelain Company Limited, still in business today, has always put great emphasis on superb artistry, a policy that has carried them through more than 250 years of manufacturing.
About the Art
This sixteen inch vase was created by the Worcester Royal Porcelain Company Limited in 1876. Called the Indian Vase, it is an amazing stylistic example of this company's use of Indian design and the use of porcelain to imitate other materials. …