Painted in Blue

Creamware was developed in the 1740s and was essentially a fine quality earthenware body covered in a creamy lead glaze. Its strength, versatility, and practicality eclipsed the previously successful delftwares and saltglazed stonewares. It became one of the most successful ceramic bodies ever produced and was used with many different decorative treatments. Refinements in the basic ingredients of creamware and lead glaze allowed the potters to create whiter bodies which led to the use of underglaze blue painting. This decoration on creamware developed in the 1770s and enabled the British potters to emulate the prized Chinese porcelains, consequently the most common form of decoration was Chinese inspired.

During the second half of the 1770s various potters introduced a hint of blue into the lead glaze which created a brighter, whiter body more like Chinese porcelain. The potters at the time referred to this development as chinaglaze but it has since become widely known as pearlware. Contrary to popular belief it was not Josiah Wedgwood who first introduced the blue tinted glaze.

Underglaze blue painted pieces are keenly collected today but until the publication of Painted in Blue in 2006 there had been no comprehensive study of these wares. This lavishy illustrated work by Lois Roberts, published by the Northern Ceramic Society, is the product of over 20 years of painstaking observation of painting styles and pattern details. Now examples from seventeen potters in Staffordshire alone can be recognised together with many examples from Yorkshire, the South West and South Wales. Lois has also carried out important work on recognising as yet unattributed groups, this work being ongoing.