Derby Porcelain in the 18th and early 19th centuries

1740 - 1840 (c.)

Image: Derby Oval Dish, c 1760. The dish has a moulded trellis border painted with butterflies. The centre is painted with fruit and insects.

Image from: Bantock House, Wolverhampton

Text: Olga Baird


Derby, like Worcester and the Potteries district of North Staffordshire was home to an important centre of ceramics manufacture during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Under its first “china maker” André Planche, the Nottingham Road factory produced ornamental ware such as vases and figures because the soft paste that was used could not withstand boiling water and was therefore unsuitable for tableware. The paste, though, was ideal for delicate modelling and the Derby factory produced highly decorated pieces imitating French Rococo and other continental styles as well as scenes which reflected British rural and theatrical life. In the 1756, Planche entered a partnership with William Duesbury and the business developed a new paste which contained glass, soaprock and calcined animal bone. This enabled the factory to produce high-quality tableware.

This article by Olga Baird explores the origins of Crown Derby Porcelain and presents several examples of the ornamental products and tableware produced by the factory from the 1750s until the 1820s. The images in the exhibition are taken from slides of items held by Derby Museum & Art Gallery (www.derby.gov.uk/museums).

Donor ref: P60

Continue browsing this section

2007-0Derby Porcelain in the 18th and early 19th centuries 2878-0Derby Porcelain: André Planche and William Duesbury 4599-0Derby Porcelain: William Duesbury II and Robert Bloor 4222-0Pastoral Group, c.1770 4239-0Candelabrum, c. 1755-60 4234-0The Four Quarters (Continents), c.1775 4220-0Tithe Pig Group, c.1765-70 4238-0The “Welsh” Tailor, c.1770 4240-0James Quin as Falstaff, c. 1825 4233-0Edmund Kean as Richard III, c.1815 4225-0Virgins Awakening Cupid, c.1780 4221-0Frill Vase and Cover, c.1760 4244-0Blue & White Table Centre in two parts, c.1760 4228-0Ice Pail, c.1796-1800 4229-0Pot-Pourri, c.1800-1810 4235-0William Pegg’s Thistle Dish, c.1800 4230-0Dish, c.1800 4236-0Dessert Plate, c.1813-1820 4223-0William Billingsley’s Prentice Plate, 1790-1795 4224-0Dessert Dish, c.1790 4237-0A Dessert Plate from the Trotter Service, c.1825 4245-0Dessert Plate (Imari) 4226-0Coffee Can, c.1793-4 4232-0Teapot, c.1795 4231-0Teapot, c.1795 4243-0Chocolate Mug with Cover, c.1800
Sources and Further Reading

Barret, F A and Thorpe, A L. Derby Porcelain (London, 1971)
Bradshaw, P, Derby Porcelain Figures 1750-1848 (London, 1990)
John W, William Billingsley 1758-1828 (1968)
Murdoch, J and Twitchett, J, Painters and the Derby China Works (987)
Rice, D, Derby Porcelain – The Golden Years (1983)
Sargeant, M, Royal Crown Derby (Princes Risborough, 2000)
Twitchett, J, Derby Porcelain (London, 1980)
Twitchett J. and Sandon H, Landscapes on Derby and Worcester Porcelain (1984)

Examples of Derby Porcelain can be seen at the following locations:
Bantock House Museum, Wolverhampton
British Museum (www.british-museum.org.uk)
Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire (www.chatsworth-house.co.uk)
Derby Museum and Art Gallery (www.derby.gov.uk/museums)
Harewood House, Leeds (www.harewood.org)
Kedleston Hall, Derby
Royal Crown Derby Museum and Visitor Centre (www.royal-doulton.com)
Victoria and Albert Museum (www.vam.ac.uk)
Wallace Collection (www.wallace-collection.com)