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Swansea and Nantgarw Porcelains : A Forensic Re-evaluation (Hardcover) (Howell G. M. Edwards)
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In this volume the porcelain manufactured at Nantgarw and Swansea in the first quarter of the 19th Century, which has been acclaimed as some of the finest and most translucent porcelain ever produced, is studied holistically using both scientific analytical data and historical provenancing. The particular advantage of this approach for these two porcelain factories, linked geographically and through the artistic and creative activities of the enigmatic William Billingsley, is centred upon their strictly limited production over perhaps only three or four years during the period 1812-1823. The earliest chemical analysis of these porcelains was undertaken on museum specimens almost 100 years ago and the results of these and of more recent analyses will be compared and reviewed. This book will not only describe the chemical composition of the porcelains of Swansea and Nantgarw and the modifications made empirically in attempts to improve their robustness and kiln firing survivability, but also their artistic decoration and the struggle to maintain quality production in times of fierce competition and economic difficulty. A comprehensive survey is undertaken of the “named services” specially commissioned from these factories; a long lost Nantgarw dinner-dessert service has been discovered during this exercise. A reappraisal of the available scientific evidence relevant to the manufacture will be correlated with their identification based upon documentary records and a protocol is advanced for the initial screening and identification of putative Swansea and Nantgarw porcelains and is illustrated by ten case studies. Scientific explanations for the characteristic Swansea duck-egg porcelain translucency and for the Nantgarw iridescence noted for enamelling carried out on porcelain decorated in the London ateliers are also proposed. The book is well illustrated throughout and affords a good basis for the further in-depth study of Swansea and Nantgarw porcelains.