Hamilton Gallery

Desert plate 1815-25
Gift of Dr Roger Cross and Jennifer Carter


13 February – 31 March 2013

Davenport was the great English ceramics factory of the early 19th century and its production contained all the hallmarks of this eclectic period. During this time manufacturing had lost its artistic direction and decoration often became a conglomeration of brightly coloured or gilded motifs. This lends considerable variety to their output but the best of the works use elaborate gilt decoration and highly refined painting for their effect.

This period of porcelain was not well represented in the Gallery’s collection and so the gift of Dr Roger Cross and Jennifer Carter was a welcome addition. We now hold superb examples of this resplendent period and its rich production.

This gift of twenty-eight pieces contains some the experimental work the factory undertook to improve the clay bodies that were used at the time. These were the early days of commercial stoneware production, a considerably cheaper alternative to porcelain, because of the easy availability of stoneware clays and the robustness of the final product. These pieces mimicked the refined porcelain in being hand-painted over transfer printer decoration and the transfer printing was also developed as one example with three colours of transfer printing on it shows.

This exhibition celebrates the wonderful gift to the Gallery and is displayed with additional examples of Davenport porcelain drawn from the collection.