Antique and fine china query - jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?

by Sara

Antique and fine china query -  jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?

Antique and fine china query - jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?

Antique and fine china query - jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?:- I have acquired a very captivating little jug, 10 cm tall. It appears to be porcelain with sprig-moulded designs (curious angel scenes) to both sides and front (two doves at a water fountain). It is finished in turquoise. It is in marvellous condition - no breaks or chips, as I am presuming it is quite old. It has no identifying marks and I would love to know its story; where and when was it made and by who? A scrap of information on the internet suggested it may be by John Turner of Lane Ends circa 1785-1800?



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Antique and fine china query - jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?

Hi Sara

I am not sure why you didn't upload a photo of the base - even if there wasn't a mark.

This is a very cute teapot and first thing to say is I like the design of it very much. However, the potting of it shows a little lacking in sophistication. If this is 18th century then perhaps this is understandable. Maybe?

Maybe not in this case.

I wasn't all that familiar with John Turner of the 18th Century, so I did some reading and research.

It appears he was a sophisticated maker of very fine delicately produced wares and seemed to mark his wares clearly (according to what I could find in Goddens). He even had a very sophisticated Prince of Wales feathers pottery mark designed to celebrate and publicise the fact that he had been patronised by the son of the Queen.

So although this is 18th century, we are not talking primitive Staffordshire ware here at all, we are talking sophisticated, delicate finery.

Apparently he was a very clever person and a top man of the time - a friend and business rival of J Wedgwood. The difference was there was no one of talent to take over his firm once he died in 1787. His two sons tried to carry it forward, but by 1806 the concern had petered out.

Below is a photo of a jasper type teapot by John Turner....

john turner teapot - jasper ware

So my questions to you would be - where is the mark on your teapot? If no mark, why no mark? Is it early ware? Did he
sometimes not mark wares? Why is this jasper piece glazed? Jasper isn't usually glazed - that's what Jasper is, isn't it? - unglazed so as to display the crisp detailed sprig modelling carried out by absolute masters of the age? Why does your teapot look so much more primitive/naive than the Turner teapot in the photo? Is it just the thick over-glaze that makes it look less well potted than a normally more sophisticated potting of John Turner? Or is it that the sprigging looks softened by overuse of the plaster mould as well as by the glaze? This seems to me primitive potting as it's cheaper to keep using the same mould too many times rather than only using it 15 to 20 times. Too primitive for someone of the standards of John Turner.

As a maker of expensive bone china in Staffordshire myself using traditional methods Turner would recognise, I am dealing with quality control every day. If someone showed me this overglazed pot with worn sprigging I would be flabbergasted.

Seems to me from what little I know Turner wasn't into bad potting practices at all either.

He was a clever man of high morals and high standards who ran a tight ship - tight enough to gain Royal Patronage in a very fussy and eloquent age.

As I say, I know little or nothing about Turner, but it seems just simple logic that primitive potting and John Tuner do not go together. For him to make a pot that looks like this would be to say he let questionable, if not shoddy, practices go.

Nothing indicates to me this could come out of a John Turner studio in its pomp. It was either very early and he was still learning (unlikely as from an early age he was a highly educated person writing his secret formulas and recipes in French so as to remain unread by others close at hand), or much later when he no longer had his hands on, or after he had died.

I don't know, but things just don't add up for this tea pot to be John Turner of Lane End (later to be re-born as the bone china centre known as Longton). However, this is just a hunch which I would love to be properly educed about, so please post if you have any information or help to give.

Peter (admin)

p.s. The following page is a 'must see' if you are researching fine china - for value and identification:-

Researching the identity and value of antique and vintage fine china.

Comments for Antique and fine china query - jasper ware style Serpent jug - John Turner of Lane Ends c.1785-1800?

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Jasperware Serpent Jug
by: Chris B.


I purchased one of these jugs on an internet auction here in New Zealand just last month. Mine is in dark blue and it is also unmarked. I have shoed it to a dealer here in New Zealand and have been informed that it was made around 1785-1800 by John Turner.
Mine cost me NZ$29.50.
If you go to the below site you will see details and a picture of the item.


Not of Turner of Lane End
by: Rob

Sorry to burst your bubble Sara however your Serpent Jug is not of the Turners of Lane End.

This jug is commonly attributed to them buy several dealers however they are in error. I have seen the correct maker mentioned somewhere however at present I can't recall.

Serpent Jugs
by: Rob

Hi Sarah
I've done a lil research on "Serpent Jugs" since I discovered that Turner did indeed manufacture a Serpent Jug. The Turners ceased production Nov 1804 and the factory was leased out complete as being ready with everything for an immediate startup.
The premises was leased by Richard Woolley after his breakup with Chetham around 1809-1814. Since your jug also features Turner sprig moulds we have a fair chance of being onto your jugs maker. After 1814 it is unknown who used the factory after 1814 but everything was sold of 1828.
It looks as if the unknown potters of the Chrysanthenum Factory also worked out of the old Turner factory.

A bit more
by: Rob

There appears to be two different but similar Serpent Jugs. If you research them you will find the actual serpent is different in the chest area as well as the waviness of the body. The most common appears to be with a chest and made by what is called the Chrysanthemum Factory It has a circular pad mark on the bottom.
Yours is from an unknown maker and usually features a Turner sprig on either side however beneath the spout there is a Bird Bath sprig which is not of Turner. The manufacturer seems to be connected somehow to Chetham & Woolley but don't hold me to that.
There is a very rare Turner Jug which uses the same serpent as yours but I can't attach a photo for you.
Regards, Rob
use "old-bonez" who lives at the usual hot address for mail.

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