Pottery Marks - Fakery Or ‘Influence’
by FRANK STEVENS
WL 1895 - A Genuine Fake Mark By Wong Lee Not a William Lowe
WL 1895 - A Genuine Fake Mark By Wong Lee Not a William Lowe:- China Marks Article - Thank you, Peter, for an interesting pottery marks general information article. I have a some further knowledge which I can pass onto your visitors in the area of English ceramics.
Looking at the WL 1895 on very distinctive well made and old looking wares put me in mind of a superb irony. This mark is that of modern day Chinese factory Wong Lee. It is trying to look very European in an antique sort of way (1895 etc etc).
For centuries we were trying (and failing) to find the secret of Chinese porcelain so as to make ceramics which looked like it was Chinese. The Japanese had learned the secrets from captured Korean potters, who had learned the techniques from the Ming Dynasty Chinese potters.
The pottery marks which are most often found on English china wares are not necessarily the be-all-and-end-all of indicating excellence. For example, many good pieces are actually un-marked, and others have pottery markings to the highest degree – but are faked.
The point to remember though is there are two types of mark which can always be regarded as more or less secure and impervious to forgery.
They are:The impressed, incised, or embossed mark put on the wares, when the paste is wet, before the first firing.The under-glaze marks, often in blue, applied to the body when in biscuit form
The more likely to be dubious pottery mark is that which is put on over-glaze, especially in gold or enamel.
So factory ceramic marks are all of great significance. For example; the in-house artisan’s which are evident on, say Worcester chinaware or Bristol where each painter was assigned a number.
Remember too that the crossed Saxony swords of Meissen do not necessarily denote a Dresden piece because the same symbol was appropriated by great makers Derby, Coalport/Caughley, Bristol and Worcester.
The blue Worcester crescent is found at Bow and Coalport/Caughley, and the wares themselves
are not dissimilar.
You can trace the origin of the Worcester square mark to a Chinese seal of 1662-1722 and almost identical square devices can be seen on Derby, Chelsea and Bow wares.
Is this fakery? Of course the answer is no.
There is a dividing line between fakery and ‘influence’. One is fine and dandy, the other is not.
Is the WL mark of Wong Lee fine? The 1895 just pushes it over the edge of not being fine.....
ps. The picture shown above is an example of a true fake. The ceramic mark has been passed off at auction as a genuine William Lowe (an English maker based at the Sydney works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England 1874-1931. It is made by modern maker Wong Lee and the '1895' is apparently there only as a celebration to denote the end of the war between Japan and China. Does anyone else spot the irony of the modern day china makers faking western makers whilst, for centuries we were trying to fake there wares?
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