An eminent surgeon, Dr John Wall, perfected the secret recipe for the production of soft paste porcelain and a factory was founded on the banks of the river Severn.
The river was essential for transporting both production materials and wares. Having gained a reputation for producing quality tableware, Worcester flourished under the guideance of a series of owners. All made improvements to the manufacture of porcelain, adding new glazes, shapes and designs. The Worcester factory was able to engage the services of excellent artists and some of the finest porcelain was produced there. Royal patronage was added, firstly by king George III in and has been continually reviewed and renewed with each change of monarch.
The factory continued producing mainly tableware during the nineteenth century and a few figurines were introduced, mostly by James Hadley. By the start of the twentieth century sales were in decline and in the factory went into recevership. CW Dyson Perrins bought the factory in and, under the guidence of J Grimson, set about reforming production there. It was during this period that new modellers were brought in, many of them freelance artists, and from then on Worcester porcelain saw a revival to it's heydays of the eighteenth century.
Tableware was revolutionised by ovenproof porcelain in and for the first time decorative porcelain cookware was produced which was hugely successful. Production at the Royal Worcester works on the Severn ceased in and the factory finally closed in There is a world famous museum on the original site which has a truly wonderful and vast collection of Worcester porcelain.
The differences in the ceramic bodies are determined by the proportions of the ingredients used and the temperatures they are fired at. White clay also mined in Cornwall Feldspar: Very translucent glass like material that fuses the other materials together on firing Quartz: Translucent, helps to prevent distortion on firing Bone ash: Calcite cattle bone, gives bone china its strength, translucency and whiteness.
The raw materials are mixed with water to form a liquid clay or slip. Impurities are removed using electromagnets and most of the water is extracted to produce a solid clay body for hand or machine forming. Although manufacturing methods have changed very little since the eighteenth century, semi automation for most of these processes has taken over. Objects such as teapots, vases, jugs and figures are made by pouring slip into plaster of paris moulds.
The resultant casts are removed from the moulds assembled using more liquid slip and the rough edges smoothed away. Several moulds can be used to make up a complicated piece. After assembly the object has its first firing. Following the biscuit firing the object is ready to glaze, either by dipping or spraying with liquid glaze. The glaze becomes clear and bright on firing. Here painters added enamel colours by hand to printed patterns.
Hand gilding, gold is applied by brush, then fired and burnished. Incised marks are scratched into the clay before it is fired. Moulded marks are raised pads applied above the base. Printed marks were put on after the glaze. Backstamps and Dating The basic marking system for Royal Worcester originated in , the crowned crest of four linked Ws.
In the words Royal Worcester England were added around the crest. Puce coloured crests were used from until when the black ink mark took over. Green crest marks were used for the Boer and First World War soldiers, and blue marks were printed on a limited number of figurines. In a puce coloured star replaced all the dots and a dot is then added for each subsequent year.