|Resting place||Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England|
|Residence||Burslem, Staffordshire, England|
|Spouse(s)||Ellena Bucknall (1663-1689)|
|Children||Matthias, John, Thomas, James, Cornelius|
|Parent(s)||Ralph Toft & Margery Turner|
|Relatives||Ralph Toft (brother)|
Thomas Toft (died November 1698) was an English potter working in the Staffordshire Potteries during the 17th century. He and his family are known for large earthenware plates heavily decorated by slip-trailing, often in several colours.
The Staffordshire Potteries is the industrial area encompassing the six towns, Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton that now make up the city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. North Staffordshire became a centre of ceramic production in the early 17th century, due to the local availability of clay, salt, lead and coal. Hundreds of companies produced decorative or industrial items.
Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired below 1200°C. Porcelain, bone china and stoneware, all fired at high enough temperatures to vitrify, are the main other important types of pottery.
It is thought that Toft, who may have been of Scandinavian origin, operated in the Burslem district during at least 1671-1689. The Staffordshire potters were at that time known for the excellence of their slipware; a kind of coarse earthenware decorated with a coloured clay and water mixture of cream-like consistency called slip. Sometimes a red slip was trailed on to a lighter background, sometimes vice versa. Black and green slips were also used. According to the common practice of the time, these earthenwares were glazed with a galena lead oxide glaze, giving them their characteristic yellow tinge.
Burslem is a constitutional town that amalgamated to form the Federation of Stoke-on-Trent in 1910, along with Hanley, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Stoke-upon-Trent in 1925, following the granting of city status to become the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
Slipware is pottery identified by its primary decorating process where slip is placed onto the leather-hard clay body surface before firing by dipping, painting or splashing. Slip is an aqueous suspension of a clay body, which is a mixture of clays and other minerals such as quartz, feldspar and mica. The slip placed onto a wet or leather-hard clay body surface by a variety of techniques including dipping, painting, piping or splashing.
A slip is a liquid mixture or slurry of clay and/or other materials suspended in water. It has many uses in the production of pottery, and other ceramic wares.
Designs attributed to Thomas Toft include mermaids, unicorns, pelicans, but also King Charles II and his wife Queen Catherine of Braganza, and numerous coats of arms. A cross-hatched rim was fairly typical of the style. The Toft style, combined with the slip trailing technique, was firmly established in the Staffordshire area by the middle of the seventeenth century. Over thirty signed dishes have been recorded but a few of them may have been made by his son, also called Thomas Toft.
In folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drownings. In other folk traditions, they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.
The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a single large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. The unicorn was depicted in ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and was mentioned by the ancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including Ctesias, Strabo, Pliny the Younger, Aelian and Cosmas Indicopleustes. The Bible also describes an animal, the re'em, which some versions translate as unicorn.
Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that make up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterised by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped-up contents before swallowing. They have predominantly pale plumage, the exceptions being the brown and Peruvian pelicans. The bills, pouches, and bare facial skin of all species become brightly coloured before the breeding season. The eight living pelican species have a patchy global distribution, ranging latitudinally from the tropics to the temperate zone, though they are absent from interior South America and from polar regions and the open ocean.
Very little is known about Toft's life. His father died in 1669. He married to Ellena Bucknall on 21 April 1663. Toft died a pauper in 1689 and was buried at Stoke-upon-Trent, now one of the six towns making up the city of Stoke-on-Trent, on 3 December 1689. His wife Ellena died two years later in 1691. They had five children: Matthias (b.1663), John (b.1664), Thomas (1670–1723), James (b.1673) and Cornelius (1677–1728).
Poverty is the scarcity or the lack of a certain (variant) amount of material possessions or money. Poverty is a multifaceted concept, which may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Stoke-upon-Trent, commonly called Stoke, is a town that amalgamated with Hanley, Tunstall, Fenton, Longton and Burslem to form the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent in 1910. This county borough was granted city status in 1925 becoming the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke-on-Trent is a city and unitary authority area in Staffordshire, England, with an area of 36 square miles (93 km2). Together with the neighbouring boroughs of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands, it is part of North Staffordshire. In 2016, the city had a population of 261,302.
Toft became the grandfather to seven children although he did not live long enough to witness any of their births. Two, Maria (1701–1703) and Matthew (b.1698) were the children of James. Whilst Carol (b.1706), Cornelius (b.1703), Edward (1698–1701) and Standley (b.1700) were all the children of Matthias and his wife Dorothy Dickinson (d.1713). Much later, Charles Toft, Sr. (circa 1828-1890) was a leading designer for Mintons, and his son Albert Toft (1862–1949) was a sculptor, whose career was dominated by public commemorative commissions in bronze, especially of Queen Victoria.
Mintons was a major company in Staffordshire pottery, "Europe's leading ceramic factory during the Victorian era", an independent business from 1793 to 1968. It was a leader in ceramic design, working in a number of different ceramic bodies, decorative techniques, and "a glorious pot-pourri of styles - Rococo shapes with Oriental motifs, Classical shapes with Medieval designs and Art Nouveau borders were among the many wonderful concoctions". As well as pottery vessels and sculptures, the firm was a leading manufacturer of tiles and other architectural ceramics, producing work for both the Houses of Parliament and United States Capitol.
Albert Toft was an English sculptor.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.
Examples of his work can be found in:
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world's largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is in Hanley, one of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Admission is free.
Three tiny fragments of Toft pottery including a shard inscribed '...OFT' were found three feet below ground at the corner of Stafford Street and Trinity Street, Hanley in 1953.
Ralph Toft (b.1683) was probably Thomas' elder brother, he shared the name of their father. Ralph's name appears on many typical Toft-style dishes decorated with a double-headed eagle, cavaliers and ladies, or with a mermaid, two being dated 1676 and 1766.
Ralph married Christabell Hatton (d.1693), the couple had no known children.
James Toft (b.1673) was Thomas' fourth son, it is believed that he is the maker of a number of Toft dishes that bear his name.
Cornelius Toft (1677–1728) was the youngest son of Thomas. A two-handled incised white salt-glazed loving cup is inscribed as follows:
|“||W B Marthar Barber C T |
Cornelius Toft 1727/8 hand
C Martha Barber T
Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a buff earthenware body, at least when there is no more usual English name for the type concerned. The invention of a white pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip of a lead glaze, was a major advance in the history of pottery. The invention seems to have been made in Iran or the Middle East before the ninth century. A kiln capable of producing temperatures exceeding 1,000 °C (1,830 °F) was required to achieve this result, the result of millennia of refined pottery-making traditions. The term is now used for a wide variety of pottery from several parts of the world, including many types of European painted wares, often produced as cheaper versions of porcelain styles.
Thomas Whieldon was a significant English potter who played a leading role in the development of Staffordshire pottery.
Josiah Spode was an English potter and the founder of the English Spode pottery works which became famous for the quality of its wares. He is often credited with the establishment of blue underglaze transfer printing in Staffordshire in 1781–84, and with the definition and introduction in c. 1789–91 of the improved formula for bone china which thereafter remained the standard for all English wares of this kind.
Spode is an English brand of pottery and homewares produced by the company of the same name, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Spode was founded by Josiah Spode (1733–1797) in 1770, and was responsible for perfecting two extremely important techniques that were crucial to the worldwide success of the English pottery industry in the century to follow.
Creamware is a cream-coloured, refined earthenware with a lead glaze over a pale body, known in France as faïence fine, in Germany as Engels porselein and Italy as terraglia inglese. It was created about 1750 by the potters of Staffordshire, England, who refined the materials and techniques of salt-glazed earthenware towards a finer, thinner, whiter body with a brilliant glassy lead glaze, which proved so ideal for domestic ware that it supplanted white salt-glaze wares by about 1780. It was popular until the 1840s.
Portmeirion is a British pottery company based in Stoke-on-Trent, England.
John Astbury (1688–1743) was an English potter credited with innovations and improvements in earthenware associated with Staffordshire figures.
The Gladstone Pottery Museum is a working museum of a medium-sized coal-fired pottery, typical of those once common in the North Staffordshire area of England from the time of the industrial revolution in the 18th century to the mid 20th century. It is a grade II* listed building.
Shelley Potteries, situated in Staffordshire, was earlier known as Wileman & Co. which had also traded as The Foley Potteries. The first Shelley to join the company was Joseph Ball Shelley in 1862 and in 1896 his son Percy Shelley became the sole proprietor, after which it remained a Shelley family business until 1966 when it was taken over by Allied English Potteries. Its china and earthenware products were many and varied although the major output was table ware. In the late Victorian period the Art Nouveau style pottery and Intarsio ranges designed by art director Frederick Alfred Rhead were extremely popular but Shelley is probably best known for its fine bone china “Art Deco” ware of the inter-war years and post-war fashionable tea ware.
W H Grindley was an English pottery company that made earthenware and ironstone tableware, including flow blue. The company was founded in 1880 by William Harry Grindley of Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.
A potbank is a colloquial name for a pottery factory in North Staffordshire used to make bone china, earthenware and sanitaryware.
William Greatbatch was a noted potter at Fenton, Staffordshire, from the mid-eighteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Fenton was one of the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, which were joined in the early 20th century to become the city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.
Joshua Twyford was a manufacturer of pottery in the Staffordshire Potteries, England.
The Leekfrith torcs are four Iron Age gold torcs found by two hobby metal detectorists in December 2016 in a field in Leekfrith, north Staffordshire, England. The find consists of three neck torcs and a smaller bracelet, which were located in proximity to each other. They are believed to be the oldest Iron Age gold jewellery found in Britain. Subsequent archaeological examination of the area did not uncover further objects.
Bernard Moore (1850-1935) was an English pottery manufacturer and ceramic chemist known for the innovative production of flambé glazes and pottery with reduced lustre pigments. After forty years running his family's pottery business, he set up his own pottery studio in Stoke-on-Trent where he made art pottery with the help of a few assistants. After closing the studio, he worked as a ceramic consultant.
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