Sunday, January 11, 2015

Antique Chelsea Porcelain

The Chelsea factory was established c.1745 by Nicholas Sprimont, a Flemish silversmith. Coloured tablewares predominated. The fine soft-paste body was initially very glassy, becoming cloudier in the Raised Anchor period (1749-52). Chelsea porcelains highly esteemed and fetches high prices.

Chelsea porcelain asparagus tureen with a lid
The influence of contemporary silver was most strongly felt from 1745 to 1754. A number of moulded shapes were copied directly from silver originals in the Triangle period (c.1745-49), including the much-copied goat and bee jug. By the late 1750s the silver influence had become more generalized.

A collection of Chelsea Red Anchor Period porcelain, circa 1755
In the early 1750s, during the Raised Anchor period, the factory produced some superb teawares and plates decorated with harbour scenes in the Meissen manner. Japanese Kakiemon decoration was popular. Figures were produced at his period for the first time.

Imari style dish, Chelsea Porcelain factory
The impact of Meissen continued into the Red Anchor period when fine floral painting and Meissen-style figures were fashionable. Other products include leaf-shaped dishes and vegetable-shaped tureens. Red Anchor wares are generally of superb quality.

Chelsea porcelain bell shape cup with Red Anchor mark.
A particularly collectible Chelsea innovation is a form of decoration based on Aesop's fables, painted by J. H. O'Neale, c.1752 to 1758. The style was occasionally copied by Worcester.

A rare Chelsea teacup, circa 1752-54,
probably painted by Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale with the fable of 'The Fox and the Cockerel'. Sold at Bonhams for £3,125.
Sevres influences appeared from c. 1755 - for example,the use of blue ground colours with finely painted reserves. Rococo styles, with elaborate gilding, went on to dominate the Gold Anchor period. Figures and figurative candlesticks on scrolled Rococo bases are Derby-influenced but more ornate.

Chelsea (1-12) 1 An early mark. 1743 is earliest known.
2,3 1749-1753. Anchor colorless or in red on raised oval medallion.
4,5 1750-1758. Mark painted in red, brown or purple.
6,7 1758-1770. Mark in gold, occasionally in red.
8 1743-1748. In red. 9 1743-1748. Incised.
10 In gold on fine pieces. 11
12 1743-1751. In blue under-glaze.
Chelsea-Derby period (1-4)
1-4 1770-1782. Marks overglaze in blue, puce, or, in gold.
Church Gresley (1-3)
1 Impressed or scratched in the paste. 1794-1808.
2,3 T. G. Green & Co. Founded 1790.
These marks date in latter half 19th century.
The Chelsea factory was bought by William Duesbury of Derby in 1770. Thereafter, until its closure in 1784, Derby styles were followed. 

Chelsea's wares are marked in a variety of ways corresponding to periods of production. Any anchor mark mesuring a quarter of an inch or more should be questioned.
  • The Triangle period, c. 1745-49: an incised triangle. Another rare, early mark is the trident piercing a crown, in underglaze blue. 
  • The Raised Anchor period, 1749-52: an applied anchor on a small oval pad. This can be picked out in red. 
  • The RedAnchor period, 1752-6: a small anchor painted in red, or occasionally brown, enamel. The finer the ware, the smaller the anchor. 
  • The Gold Anchor period, 1757-69: a small anchor painted in gold. The red and gold anchor marks were copied in the 19th century (Sceaux 1763-1772, Venice 1764-1812, Koppelsdorf 1885-1910...). 
Chelsea porcelain typical marks - three stilt marks and small painted red anchor
Chelsea plates, dishes and saucers of the Red Anchor periodwere fired on small spurs or stilts, leaving marks(usually three) on the base. This method is used by no other English porcelain factory. Tears or other faults are also usual. The underside of the bowl illustrated above shows these features. 

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