Molded Stoneware, Basalt & Parian

CDR63
CDR63

CDN10
CDN10

CDU03
CDU03

CCZ81
CCZ81

CCU25
CCU25

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Molded Stoneware, Basalt, and Parian

Seeking always to expand the variety of their offerings to the buying public, potters of the industrial revolution era explored sculptural relief decoration for their wares as an alternative to flat printed or enameled imagery. Relief ornament ranged from the simplest of Rococo scroll accents to elaborate figural compositions.

Relief decoration could either be molded directly into the body or produced independently in molds creating delicate "sprigging" that was carefully applied to the unfired-surface. Enamels were sometimes added to enhance the design. Products might be unglazed ("dry-bodied"), employ an applied glaze, or receive a hard finish by the application of salt to the kiln during firing ("salt-glazed").

Three general types of relief ware are featured in this section.

  • Stoneware. This sturdy medium-fired class of ceramics (harder than earthenware, softer than porcelain) occurs in a wide range of variants from the earliest phases of British manufactured ceramics, including 18th century red stoneware in imitation of Chinese tea wares; crisply potted, thin white bodies of the Rococo and neoclassical periods; and the heavier mid-nineteenth century jugs in which elaborate sculptural designs often determine the form of the vessel.
  • Basalt. This black stained stoneware body was developed by Josiah Wedgwood in the 1770's and reached its peak of popularity between 1790 and 1830, during which time it was produced by a number of potters. Always dominant in this field, Wedgwood has maintained undisputed sovereignty in basalt production since 1830.
  • Parian. The one porcelain clay body included in this section, Parian was developed by Copeland in the 1840's in deliberate imitation of carved and polished marble. While its qualities were suited to figure groups and busts, parian was also employed in ornate sculptural jugs and tableware.

To avoid unnecessary duplication, Wedgwood's extensive range of molded wares is featured in the Wedgwood section.