Antique Crown Staffordshire porcelain and bone china was pottery produced at the Minerva Pottery Works in Fenton. Fenton is located in the Staffordshire district in Great Britain. Crown Staffordshire can be traced back to Thomas Green in 1833 but the "Crown Staffordshire" name was not used until 1897. Collectors prize Crown Staffordshire as one of the more high-quality potteries produced in Staffordshire and pieces can be identified and approximately dated by their maker’s marks.
Staffordshire Pottery District
The modern day city of Stoke-on-Trent encompasses the six Staffordshire district pottery towns that produced much of the pottery used not only in Great Britain but also in Europe and the United States. The peak era of pottery production in the district occurred during the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century. Crown Staffordshire porcelain and bone china came from the Stoke-on-Trent town of Fenton, which has been producing pottery since the mid-18th century.
Porcelain and Bone China
The Chinese invented porcelain, which is composed of kaolin clays that are fired at such high temperatures that the clay become vitrified (glasslike). The vitrification of clay creates a pottery that is impervious to liquids and can be made thin and delicate, yet retain toughness. To create an English “porcelain,” Josiah Spode, in 1800, experimented with adding bone ash to a kaolin clay body to create what he termed “bone china.”
Minerva Pottery Works
The production centre of Crown Staffordshire pottery was the Minerva Pottery Works in Fenton. According to thepotteries.org, the Minerva Pottery Works started in the 1760s but it really blossomed beginning in 1806, when Charles Mason moved his ironstone pottery to Fenton. Thomas Green, the "father" of Crown Staffordshire, joined Richard Hassall in purchasing the pottery works in 1833.
Crown Staffordshire Porcelain & Company
In 1897, the company first used the name "Crown Staffordshire." In 1903, Thomas Green’s sons changed the company name to Crown Staffordshire Porcelain Company Ltd. It produced not only porcelain dinnerware but also porcelain figurines and decorative objects. In 1948, the company changed its name to Crown Staffordshire China Company, Ltd. and it refocused its production to largely bone china dinnerware. The company was bought by the Wedgwood Group in 1973. In 1985, "Crown Staffordshire" ceased to be used as a brand name.
Identifying Crown Staffordshire
Crown Staffordshire porcelain and bone china can be identified by its maker’s mark located on the base of a piece. The design of the maker’s marks changed over time, allowing for an estimation of the age of a piece of antique Crown Staffordshire. A pottery marks reference guide is necessary when identifying maker’s marks. Many marks will simply state, “Crown Staffordshire” but others may have the crown symbol and “Staffordshire” or other brand names such as “Aristocrat.”