by Mrs Roberta Hurst
(Albuquerque, New Mexico USA)
Thorley's of Staffordshire - Swan With Flowers - Fine Bone China
Antique Bone China - Query: "I have a small bone china swan figurine carrying two flowers on its back. The mark on the bottom is a kind of elongated shield in dark black with three flowers on it and some other marks. Below that is a banner in gold with the word Thorlet or thorvlet in dark black written on the banner. Below that it is printed english bone China and below that it is printed Staffordshire England. What can you tell me about it"?
Reply from Peter (admin)
Many thanks for your inquiry. Hope you are enjoying the site.
We can solve your problem straight away. The company in question is Thorley's of Staffordshire - a small company who were based in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. Thorley specialized in hand-made flowers on bone china floral bouquets as well as birds, such as your swan.
I have worked on demonstration presentations with the type of specialist flower makers who would make the Thorley's products and it is a joy to watch them. They have so many different tools and implements and are very quick and agile with their hands. One lady I met was so skilled that in her 70's, they would not let her retire (she didn't want to either). She had been making flowers from the age of 14 and spent her time going from place to place demonstrating her skills.
The Thorley flowers are quite large, but this lady could make beautiful replicas of flowers only a few millimeters in size - she worked for Coalport, part of the Wedgwood group and many of her flowers went onto the lady figurines.
Thanks for being an antique bone china enthusiast like we are!