Coalport Figurines - A Fine History
Colours, glinting jewel-like on Coalport figurines - glazed, high fired, vitrified bone porcelain - this was the heritage left to us by John Rose, the original mastermind of Coalport.
Coalport figures have a distinguished reputation going back to a time before records began in the 1750's when the Caughley works was run by Squire Brown of Caughley Hall.
At first they didn't make bone china porcelain, they made decorative earthenwares.
So what makes Coalport figurines so special?
John Rose, was the catalyst to the drive for quality which remained sound for over 200 years.
Around 2007 the parent company Wedgwood went into decline and started to outsource their wares to the cheaper modern makers of the Far East.
Like sheep following the herd, they followed other leading English bone china makers towards meaningless mediocrity. Finally, the once great parent company declared: "Coalport? Who are they? We don't need that brand".
The management no longer use the brand.
The Coalport Name
Rose named the company after a small docking bay on the banks of the river Severn.
I wouldn't want you to think I am on a hobby horse, but I think English made figurines are under-appreciated. For two decades I worked closely with their staff, who held the John Rose legacy very close to their hearts.
But it amazed me how one man's willpower can be carried like a freight train through successive generations (Bruff and Bott, A. N. Garrett etc) - like something tangible you could feel. Until 2007, that is, when it all stopped. The English Coalport factory tradtion was no more. The last flower maker was laid off and came to work with me on my signature floral piece called English Garden - a homage to John Rose. I made only 25 of those. They sold out. That was my final link with the Coalport tradition. If you own one of those, please do not forget the homage to Coalport in that piece and, maybe in years to come it might be worth a fair amount.
Words To Remember Coalport By
Here are some words that came to me. I can't recall if I heard them elsewhere, or the words are mine.
For me it sums up what a beautiful porcelain figurine can do for us. Do not underestimate it.
"True beauty from the very earth, which we seek to own in order to decorate our dwellings and give us the comfort of craft, guile and romance."
Nice words which say a lot in a succinct way and explain the appeal of these figurines.
I would like to sculpt figurines with a Coalport label again, but that will happen only when the management either stop making my English bone china figurines in the Far East, or put a country of origin on the backstamp.
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