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English Lustre Ware.

May 30, 2014

Jugs of the late George lll period showing hand-painted purple lustre on glazed earthenware.

English lustre ware is well-loved. High prices and and a wealth of shoddy reproductions have not dimmed its enthusiasts.  Early items are now  over 200 years old. Lustre its metallic surface - silver a hundred shades of gold and copper from delicate pink to richest purple. The finest specimens are lavish and beautifully decorated. A piece bearing its makers name is quite rare. 
The development of lustre ware in England, came from the desire to create Moresque effects on the newly evolved creamware, which was bringing great wealth to the Staffordshire master potters. with its transfer decorations in blue.  Little success was achieved until the early years of the 19thc.

Silver stencilled and resist lustre jugs.

John Hancock an enameller employed by Josiah Spode at Stoke, claimed to have produced lustre wear in 1789. In a letter to the Staffordshire Mercury in 1846 Hancock declared that he had discovered and put into practise  the gold, silver and steel lustre at Spode.  The statement remained unchallenged. Gold lustre was not successfully produced until early in the 19thc.  The scarcity and high price of gold encouraged  the potters to turn their attention  to the production of silver lustre  from platinum oxide and the less expensive pink lustre from gold chloride.

The well known purple lustre thinly painted in design over white glaze  was a popular and inexpensive until 
the 1860's.  It was produced from the purple powder of cassius and displays a distinct tinge of
purple even at its palest.

 The list of lustre ware makers is extensive. Principle makers were Charles Allerton of Longton;
John Aynsley of Lane End; Bailey and Batkin also of Longton; Lakin and Poole of Hanley;  Thomas Minton
to name but a few.

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