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Bristol Delft - Is Flattery the Greatest Compliment?

Nic Saintey (Ceramics Specialist) muses over Lot 577 in the Ceramics and Glass section of the April 2012 Fine Sale. The ceramic plate was catalogued as probably being Bristol Delft, but during viewing it soon became apparent that the prototype was made a little further up the River Severn...

Probable Bristol Delft Plate.

A plate catalogued in the April 2012 sale as probably Bristol Delft, painted with a Chinese fisherman and Crane.

It's always great to learn something thing new, but as is often the case with an answer comes yet more questions. Take lot 577 in the April 2012 Fine Sale catalogued as probably Bristol Delft and painted with a Chinese fisherman and Crane.

Bristol Delft along with many other domestic potteries in London, Liverpool, Wincanton and Glasgow were keen to emulate Oriental porcelain hence this archetypal Oriental design.

However, during viewing it soon became apparent that this piece of probable Bristol Delft was a contender for the real thing only there were strings attached - it is an almost identical copy of a First Period Worcester porcelain pattern called 'The Cormorant' that was popular in the late 1750s.

Worcester, of course, produced more expensive porcelain that was gradually superseding pottery bodies like delft and who in turn also borrowed heavily from the Chinese.

It does, of course, raise the question whether a disgruntled employee jumped on a boat and sailed down the River Severn to one of the Bristol delft pot houses and used his skills there? Or was an enterprising Bristol delft potter just nicking the pattern and trying to bask in the reflected glory of one of the country's leading porcelain manufacturers?


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Fine Sale
  • Ceramics
  • Bristol Delft
  • Worcester Porcelain

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