About antique Crown Derby china (1912)

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About the aristocracy of porcelain

Marking that will help you detect the gems of your closet

The Derby china, or the “Crown Derby,” as it is now known, was famous from about 1750 to the end of the century. From Derby, in England, it was sold to a very wide extent over Europe and the British colonies.

The factory was established by William Duesberg, and was after his death carried on by his son and by a Mr Reeve, who married his father’s widow. In 1815, it went into the possession of Robert Bloor. The works were not finally closed till 1848.

Duesberg, who purchased the molds and property of both the Bow and Chelsea factories, carried on the work at Derby and at Chelsea for some time, and much of the porcelain made at the time is called Chelsea Derby.

The early mark of the Derby was a capital D, and the Chelsea Derby mark is the same D with the Chelsea anchor in its middle. The crown, with the anchor or with crossed lines and dots and sometimes with the D under it, was used after the patronage of George III had been extended to the works, about 1777, and is now most commonly found upon the best work of this factory. After 1815, Bloor’s name is found upon the work.

During the best portion of Duesberg’s time, dinner, dessert, breakfast and tea services of great richness and splendor were made, and the patronage was more generous than it had been to any other English factory.

Duesberg carried to great perfection the combination of rich blue with gold, not only in his vases and urns, but also as edges to his dinner and tea services. Groups and figures, upon which gold and color were not spared, were made in great variety and number at Derby.

At the end of the eighteenth century, it was much the fashion for ladies to paint for their own use and for gifts single pieces, and, indeed, whole sets, and the white china of Derby was sold for that purpose. These amateur productions occasionally find their way into the shops and, naturally, perplex the collector.

Great care was taken that nothing but perfect work went from the factory. This kept the character of the Derby works high, but it filled their shops with many “seconds.”

When Bloor came into possession of the factory, these “seconds” were sold at auction in various parts of England, and this injured the name and fame of Derby so that it did not recover.

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Pictured at top: 1830 Bloor Derby Large George IV hand-painted foliate platter

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