Thomas Turner (1749 – February 1809) was an English potter. He was the lessee of the celebrated Salopian porcelain company, or Caughley manufactory, during the later decades of the 18th century. He is not to be confused with the potter John Turner (1737-1787) and his family, of Lane End, Staffordshire, who were active in the same period.
Turner was born in 1749, was the eldest son of Richard Turner (1724?–1791), vicar of Elmley Castle, Worcestershire, by his wife Sarah. Richard Turner (1753–1788) was his younger brother. It has been supposed that Thomas was brought up as a silversmith. He was, however, only formally apprenticed to his father, to qualify him for the freedom of the city of Worcester. It is probable that he was early connected with the Worcester china works. He was an excellent chemist, was a thorough master of the various processes connected with porcelain manufacture, was a skillful draughtsman, designer, and engraver, and was also a clever musician. He was a magistrate for Shropshire and Staffordshire, and a freeman of Worcester, Much Wenlock, and Bridgnorth.
In 1772 Turner succeeded Ambrose Gallimore (brother-in-law of Josiah Spode) as lessee of the porcelain manufactory at Caughley in Shropshire. Gallimore had obtained the lease to the works, styled ‘The Salopian China Warehouse,’ in 1754, and under his management they had rapidly gained in repute. "In the early years of the Caughley manufactory, the ware was not many degrees removed from earthenware; but it gradually assumed a finer and more transparent character. Like the early Worcester examples, the patterns were principally confined to blue flowers, etc., on a white ground; and in this style and colour the Caughley works excelled, in many respects, their competitors."
On succeeding Gallimore, Turner set about enlarging the manufactory. He completed his improvements in 1775, and in 1780 visited France, in order to investigate the methods employed in the porcelain manufactories at Paris. He brought back several skilled workmen, who greatly aided him in his subsequent innovations. On his return he developed an early or predecessor form of the ‘willow pattern’, and about the same time produced the ‘Brosely blue dragon pattern.’ This "willow" pattern was not, however, the later standard willow pattern with bridge and fence in the foreground - which the Caughley factory never produced,(an imitation in transferware of a pattern popular in hand-painted chinese imported wares), nor was it the pattern known as "Turner's willow", which was developed by John and William Turner of Lane End, Staffordshire towards the end of the 18th century.
In 1783 Turner married Dorothy Gallimore, daughter of William and niece of Ambrose Gallimore.However she died in 1794 without surviving issue, and he made a second marriage, in 1796, to Mary, daughter of Thomas Milner and widow of Henry Alsop. In 1798 or 1799 he retired from the business, which passed into the hands of John Rose, a former apprentice, who carried it on together with his own works at Coalport under the title Rose & Co. The works were finally abandoned in 1814 or 1815, chiefly owing to difficulties of transport and to the failure of the coal supply.
Turner died in February 1809, and was buried in the family vault at Barrow, Shropshire. Mary Turner his widow died at Bridgnorth on 20 November 1816, leaving a son and daughter.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including a material like kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. The strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.
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 high 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 the Netherlands as Engels porselein, and in 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.
Soft-paste porcelain is a type of ceramic material in pottery, usually accepted as a type of porcelain. It is weaker than "true" hard-paste porcelain, and does not require either the high firing temperatures or the special mineral ingredients needed for that. There are many types, using a range of materials. The material originated in the attempts by many European potters to replicate hard-paste Chinese export porcelain, especially in the 18th century, and the best versions match hard-paste in whiteness and translucency, but not in strength. But the look and feel of the material can be highly attractive, and it can take painted decoration very well.
Bone china is a type of porcelain that is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin. It has been defined as "ware with a translucent body" containing a minimum of 30% of phosphate derived from animal bone and calculated calcium phosphate. Bone china is the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, having very high mechanical and physical strength and chip resistance, and is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency. Its high strength allows it to be produced in thinner cross-sections than other types of porcelain. Like stoneware it is vitrified, but is translucent due to differing mineral properties.
Transfer printing is a method of decorating pottery or other materials using an engraved copper or steel plate from which a monochrome print on paper is taken which is then transferred by pressing onto the ceramic piece. Pottery decorated using the technique is known as transferware or transfer ware.
Royal Worcester was established in 1751 and is believed to be the oldest or second oldest remaining English porcelain brand still in existence today. Part of the Portmeirion Group since 2009, Royal Worcester remains in the luxury tableware and giftware market, although production in Worcester itself has ended.
Thomas Minton was an English potter. He founded Thomas Minton & Sons in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, which grew into a major ceramic manufacturing company with an international reputation.
The Willow pattern is a distinctive and elaborate chinoiserie pattern used on ceramic kitchen/housewares. It became popular at the end of the 18th century in England when, in its standard form, it was developed by English ceramic artists combining and adapting motifs inspired by fashionable hand-painted blue-and-white wares imported from China. Its creation occurred at a time when mass-production of decorative tableware, at Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere, was already making use of engraved and printed glaze transfers, rather than hand-painting, for the application of ornament to standardized vessels.
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.
A chinaman is a dealer in porcelain and chinaware, especially in 18th-century London, where this was a recognised trade; a "toyman" dealt additionally in fashionable trifles, such as snuffboxes. Chinamen bought large quantities of Chinese export porcelain and Japanese export porcelain landed by the East India Company, who held auctions twice a year in London. The traders then distributed chinaware throughout England.
Henry Whitmore was an English Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1852 and 1870.
William Duesbury (1763–1796), was the owner of Royal Crown Derby pottery works.
Ironstone china, ironstone ware or most commonly just ironstone, is a type of vitreous pottery first made in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century. It is often classed as earthenware although in appearance and properties it is similar to fine stoneware. It was developed in the 19th century by potters in Staffordshire, England as a cheaper, mass-produced alternative for porcelain.
Coalport, Shropshire, England was a centre of porcelain and pottery production between about 1795 and 1926, with the Coalport porcelain brand continuing to be used up to the present. The opening in 1792 of the Coalport Canal, which joins the River Severn at Coalport, had increased the attractiveness of the site, and from 1800 until a merger in 1814 there were two factories operating, one on each side of the canal, making rather similar wares which are now often difficult to tell apart.
China painting, or porcelain painting, is the decoration of glazed porcelain objects such as plates, bowls, vases or statues. The body of the object may be hard-paste porcelain, developed in China in the 7th or 8th century, or soft-paste porcelain, developed in 18th-century Europe. The broader term ceramic painting includes painted decoration on lead-glazed earthenware such as creamware or tin-glazed pottery such as maiolica or faience.
H & R Daniel is a little known manufactory of porcelain and earthenware. During the 24 years the pottery was in operation it was considered of equal stature with Spode, Minton and their contemporaries. The pottery was situated in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, England.
The Turner family of potters was active in Staffordshire, England 1756-1829. Their manufactures have been compared favourably with, and sometimes confused with, those of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons. Josiah Wedgwood was both a friend and a commercial rival of John Turner the elder, the first notable potter in the family.
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This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Carlyle, Edward Irving (1899). "Turner, Thomas (1749-1809)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 57. London: Smith, Elder & Co.