It seems a long time ago, but reminisce with this You Tube presentation put together by talented students Erica Humbey and Hanah Turton (see their earlier blogs also).
Rosemary Pemberton’s recent very knowledgeable, fascinating, talk to Volunteers about the museum’s ceramics collection started with a good question – what is the difference between china and crockery? It had us thinking. It is the kind of thing where you know the difference but articulating it is rather more difficult. There is a good attempt to do so on an internet blog:
“…”crockery” is a generic functional word for the mugs, cups, plates and saucers – that I eat from and drink out of.
On the other hand “china” carries for me a definite connotation of “delicate and expensive”. I’d say, for example:
“Don’t put your best china in the dishwasher” or
“The removal men broke a lot of our china” (where “china” could include decorative pieces such as ornaments).”
I think most of us would agree with that. But what about the differences between pottery, earthenware, porcelain, and china and bone china? This is more technical.
Dictionary definitions generally suggest pots, dishes, and other articles made of fired clay are generally called pottery and can be broadly divided into earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. Earthenware is not fired so hot and so chips fairly easily. Porcelain is fired at very hot temperatures (vitrified so that it is glass like) while stoneware has, as its name suggests, some stone in the clay which makes it stronger.
Verwood pottery – earthenware – in the Salisbury Museum ceramics gallery.
So, your best ‘china’ is probably porcelain. Some of that crockery might be stoneware…
Bone china (white) has, as you might guess, bone ash in it. It is a type of soft-paste porcelain, typical of English manufacturers since about 1800. Hard paste porcelain was originally made from a compound of the feldspathic rock petuntse and kaolin fired at very high temperature, usually around 1400°C (thank you Wikipedia!). It was first made in China around the 7th or 8th century, and has remained the most common type of Chinese porcelain.
Bone china with the characteristic shiny white finish (painted or with transfers)
No one in Europe could copy imported Chinese porcelain until the early 18th century. Much was imported which hit the home-grown industries hard. Fine china (from China) was decorated for the European market which led to some oddly hand-painted scenes on some items and encouraged surviving British chinaware factories in turn to copy Chinese patterns (think Willow pattern plates).
The rest is history as they say. And with very few young couples interested anymore in ‘fine china’, what does the future hold?
Work experience at the Salisbury museum – Hanah Turton
From Monday 4 June to Saturday 9 June 2018 I participated in work experience at Salisbury Museum. The experience has helped develop my understanding and knowledge of history in the Salisbury area.
The volunteers were extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating. The opportunity to talk to a variety of volunteers with different interests contributed a broad range of information about artefacts, archaeology and architecture. We also had the opportunity to delve into some of the costume collection with the help of one of the volunteers. Having access to the costume stores was so enthralling, especially when seeing all the beautiful lace wedding dresses and accessories.
In addition to the magnificence of the costume archive, we were able to participate in National Volunteers’ Week at Salisbury Museum and attended a variety of activities including a ceramics talk; and visits to Mompesson house, Arundells, Salisbury Cathedral library and archive and Wessex Archaeology. The week was full of so many interesting activities and events, all due to the organising and planning of the Salisbury Museum.
While here, Hanah was asked what was her favourite object…
The Old Sarum Kettle was first highlighted to me by volunteer Paul Marsh whilst on a spotlight tour of the museum. This first account of the peculiar object ignited a fascination in its origin and history. The earthenware ceramic pot is a peculiar shape that contrasts immensely with the modern-day kettle. By delving into the information and resources that the museum provides, I was able to gain a detailed explanation of what made this kettle so riveting. Due to the advancement of technology, it is possible to accurately identify where the kettle originated. It did not come from the medieval City of Salisbury but the North African country of Morocco! The Old Sarum Kettle was first introduced to Watson’s of Salisbury in the 19th Century, and he presumed the kettle to have been from Old Sarum, oblivious to the true origin. Thereafter, Watson’s of Salisbury commissioned Doulton of Lambeth to recreate and mass produce the “Old Sarum” Kettle. Over 140,000 “Old Sarum” kettles were sold by Watson’s of Salisbury between 1889 and 1921. One copy of the Old Sarum Kettle is a small porcelain kettle that displays Salisbury City’s coat of arms which was created by W.H Goss (this is also on display at the Salisbury museum alongside various other imitations).
National Volunteers’ Week at Salisbury Museum
Free events are open to all volunteers at Salisbury Museum – as part of our thank you for your support and hard work.
Places, however, are limited and must be booked in advance. To book a place please contact Bridget Telfer, the Volunteer Co-ordinator, and state your top two choices in order: email@example.com; 01722 332151. See your email in-box for more details!
Visit to Salisbury Cathedral library and archive:
Monday 4 June 9.30am – 10.30am, and Tuesday 5 June 2.45pm – 3.45pm
An illustrated talk on our ceramics collection at Salisbury Museum:
Wednesday 6 June 10.30am OR 2pm
Visit to Arundells:
Thursday 7 June 11am – 12.15pm, 2pm – 3.15pm
Visit to Wessex Archaeology:
Friday 8 June 10am – 1pm
Visit to Mompesson House:
Saturday 9 June 9.30am – 10.30am