Types of Staffordshire Pottery

Written by kelly willoughby | 13/05/2017
Types of Staffordshire Pottery
An example of what a table set with matching Staffordshire might look like. (Dresden meissen china [2] image by Alexandra Gnatush-Kostenko from Fotolia.com)

Staffordshire pottery is formed from mud, clay, ash and bone being dug out of the ground, mixed to perfection, shaped into just the right shapes and fired at extreme temperatures since the mid 1600s in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. It has been displayed on the tables of kings, queens and presidents alike. With 29 different types from which to choose, it's a wonder anyone could decide on a particular pattern.

Bone China

Types of Staffordshire Pottery
This is a bone china cup, saucer and dessert plate. (cup of black tea, saucer and spoon image by Elnur from Fotolia.com)

Bone china falls into the porcelain category. It is white and is made by adding a bone ash to the porcelain mixture. It was first made about 1800 by Josiah Spode, a master potter in Staffordshire, England. He mixed animal bone to china clay. It made for a stronger material than just porcelain and he found that it wouldn’t chip as easily, according to Stoke-on-Trent. The factories of Staffordshire found that making the bone china was just as easy as other potteries of the time because the temperatures and processes for firing in their kilns were just about the same.


Types of Staffordshire Pottery
Majolica dates to 9th century Iraq, but is made in Staffordshire today. (majolica ceramics. image by Robert Crum from Fotolia.com)

Majolica is another type of Staffordshire pottery. It is fired earthenware glazed, that starts out in a porous state then is fired more than once to bring it to a tin-glazed enamelled stoneware finish. Its history dates back to between the 9th and 13th century Iraq according to The History Overview of Majolica.

Salt Glaze

Salt glaze Staffordshire pottery is actually created with salt. The potter throws salt into the kiln at the last possible moment when the kiln is at its hottest and the silicon from the salt forms a glass like coating on the pottery.

Transfer Ware

Types of Staffordshire Pottery
Transfer ware was the answer to the common man's need for inexpensive dinnerware. (china tea cups image by pdtnc from Fotolia.com)

Transfer ware was the answer to the poor man's need for dinnerware. This is a way for Staffordshire factories to make every plate and cup match without the expense of handpainting each piece. The process is done between firings with an inked tissue; the tissue is laid on the item and then fired again. According to Stoke-on-Trent, the most popular coloured plate was a mistake; flow blue was the blue run off from being fired too many times.


Types of Staffordshire Pottery
Porcelain figures are a very popular item from Staffordshire kilns. (old porcelain sculpture image by muro from Fotolia.com)

Porcelain is another very popular Staffordshire pottery. The history of porcelain dates back to the 200BC in China according to Created in China.

Porcelain is a mixture of two different types of china, stone and clay and some say it should ring when it is struck just right. According to Stoke-on-Trent, Marco Polo described the pottery he saw in China as “porcellana” and that is where porcelain gets its name.

Other Potteries

Types of Staffordshire Pottery
The potter's wheel transforms the clay into beautiful masterpieces. (potter working clay image by Michael Drager from Fotolia.com)

There are 29 types of Staffordshire potteries: Basalt, Bisque, Bone China, Cauliflower Ware, Cream Ware, Delft, Earthenware, Flambe, Hard Paste Porcelain, Ironstone, Jackfield, Jasper, Lusterware, Majolica, Marbled, Parian, Pate-sur-pate, Pearl Ware, Porcelain, Redware, Salt glaze, Slipware, Snowman-porcelain, Soft Paste Porcelain, Spatter Ware, Staffordshire Figures, Stoneware, Tortoiseshell and Transfer Ware.

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