ARTIST / MAKER: Worcester porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1755-1758 (made)
PLACE: Worcester (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Soft-paste porcelain painted in overglaze enamels

The Worcester porcelain manufactory was founded in 1751 by Dr. John Wall, a chemist, artist, and physician, whose aim was to emulate the porcelain produced by the great European manufactories of Meissen and Sèvres. The manufactory produced wares that were thinly potted, yet better able to withstand the temperature of boiling water, and were considerably cheaper than the porcelain imported from China and Japan. This was due to the use of soapstone, a rock rich in the mineral talc, that was added to reinforce the clay.

Eastern influenced scenes are found on Worcester porcelain since the earliest years of production and continued to be popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. This example is decorated with the ‘Beckoning Chinaman’ pattern, variations of which appear from around 1754-5. Although the print source remains unknown, it is likely to have been inspired by a Chinese famille verte original depicting one of the ‘Eight Drunken Immortals of the Tang dynasty’. On some examples the woman and child are replaced by a flowering branch and similarities can be drawn with the chinoiserie style produced by Meissen, while the bright enamel colours are reminiscent of those used on Staffordshire salt glazed stoneware.