(1745 - 1775)
A factory making soft paste porcelain at Bow (then in Essex, now near Stratford High Street) was founded by the painter and engraver, Thomas Frye. Together with his partner, Edward Heylin, a potter who also had a glass business in the area, he experimented with different compositions of paste, and by 1748 they were producing a variety of 'useful and ornamental' china, strengthened by the addition of bone ash. Bow porcelain was purchased by the wealthy and the middle classes, and the factory was one of the most innovative and commercially successful. Known as 'New Canton', the factory was modelled on that at Canton in China, and at its peak of production, had about 300 employees.
The bulk of practical wares made in Bow were in blue and white, and based on oriental designs. Some were inspired by the all-white blanc de Chine wares exported in vast quantities to Europe, decorated with applied sprigs of blossom. Others were decorated in the Chinese famille rose style, and many in Japanese patterns. The factory was one of the first to use the technique of decorating plain white china with overglaze transfer printing. Figures were also produced in great numbers from 1750, using subjects based on Oriental and Meissen originals, and popular London theatrical celebrities. Earlier figures tended to be left in plain glazed white porcelain, or decorated in subtle pastel shades, while from about 1760 brighter colours were used, and figures had raised scroll-moulded bases often enriched with gilt decoration.
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A9702b figure group.
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