February 18, 2009


Welcome to my blog, dedicated to Antique Ceramics. I am a ceramics enthusiast from Australia, and enjoy the immense creativity and expression of aesthetics you find in pottery & porcelain over a huge period of time. The skill of the potter is remarkable, taking rude clay and working it into a malleable product; then working it on a wheel, casting, or sculpting it into a form of usefulness or beauty; then decorating or enhancing the product until it pleases the eye, or provides evidence of the owners good taste.

Every period & style have their ceramics,
from simple crocks in the kitchen to flamboyant centerpieces for the Kings table. Once you learn the styles, you can estimate a date.... unless you are looking at one of the numerous re-inventions of styles which occur from century to century. Telling the original from the re-issue is part of the fun of antique ceramics.
Every type of clay, and the way it is worked into a pot, is unique. These 'bodies' change over time, with invention and improvements changing their very fabric. By looking at the fabric of the pot, it is possible to further refine a period and place of origin. Then there's the technique used in potting & painting, which directly reflects the changing technology of the period. Colours used in the decoration can be used to provide a date, as certain colours have an 'invention' date, which gives an earliest possible date.

And finally, there is the mark; a 'final' point on purpose, as it should be the last feature examined to determine the origin & authenticity of a piece, for the simple reason that it is the easiest to copy or fake. Often, a piece made to look like an earlier or more valuable piece will have a big, bold, and wrong mark. The body, technique and style are the points to learn when assessing the authenticity of a piece; the marks are useful from that point on to provide an exact place & period of manufacture.

It is all a detective story, the clues adding to give us a profile of 'who dunnit'....... and like a good crime, we sometimes find cases that resist solving. With time, and new research, these mysteries may one day be solved. I hope this blog may help in this matter in some small way - and please, if you have any clues regarding any pieces or photos posted, go right ahead and make a comment!

Paul Rosenberg, Moorabool Antique Galleries, Australia