|Mason's and Other Stone China|
Mason's and Other Stone Chinas
In 1780 John Turner - perhaps the only 18th century potter to rival Josiah Wedgwood in inventiveness - patented a heavy, opaque, durable pottery body, boldly marking the resulting wares "TURNER"S PATENT." With a density approaching the feel of prestigious porcelain, the ware met the increasing demand for middle class finery. Its ability to show enamels vividly made it ideally suited to the trend for Japanese-inspired Imari and Kakiemon patterns.
Although business failure ended Turner's production in 1806, by the second decade of the 19th century stone chinas were in prolific production, led by such potters as Spode, Hicks and Meigh, Davenport, and, with the most long-lasting success, Mason's.
Second-generation members of a potting family, George and Charles James Mason received a patent for their formula and began production in 1813. The resulting wares are noted for the brilliance of their cobalt and applied enamel decoration and for an occasional slapdash quality in execution that only adds to their endearing energy. Mason's pushed beyond dinner and tea wares, producing ornamental vases, miniature curios, conservatory pieces and even fireplace mantels. Its best loved products, however, are the serpent handled jugs in graduated sizes and a great variety of patterns. Because of frequent imitation, collectors are cautioned to look for the phrase "patent ironstone" on marked pieces.
Continuing past the production periods of other stone chinas, the Mason pottery and its designs were acquired first by Francis Morley in 1854 and finally by the Ashworth's in 1862. Subsequent products, extending through the twentieth century, can be found under the Mason's or Ashworth brands.