My love of the motor car is well known amongst family, friends and colleagues and my wife has always allowed me this vice as I have no other vices whatsoever……to speak of. At present my favourite car colour is without doubt black. In the late 19th century the Victorians also developed a passion for black, obviously not in the motor car, but in many other things particularly pottery and porcelain.
The rich black pottery known as Jackfield ware was once thought to be a mere imitation of Wedgwood’s grand black basalts, but it does in fact predate this Wedgwood range and is actually one of the many experimental wares to be made at Jackfield, Shropshire as early as 1751.
The earthenware body of Jackfield ware is a brownish red colour achieved by firing red clays at high temperatures. The glaze was achieved by firing cobalt at a high temperature until the deepest blue turned black. The lustrous sheen was partly due to the carbon filled smoke, from the furnaces, being directed back into the kiln to further blacken the earthenware.
When black glazed wares became popular in the 19th century many imitations were made and these are often mistaken for Jackfield wares. These were often made by staining earthenware black with iron oxide before firing and covering it with a clear glaze. This was a cheep alternative without the style and elegance of Jackfield but which was popular as the Victorian passion for cheap trinkets and ornament saw it made into everything from tea pots to plant pots.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
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