14 SEPTEMBER 1850, Page 15


This volume may fairly be said to be original, inasmuch as it would not have been written if the author could have found any- thing like it. Mr. Marryat is a collector of china; and when he first began to ride his hobby he found the greatest difficulty in ac- quiring information how to get on. The existing publications were either areineological or technical—" either learned disqui- eitions upon the mythology of the Greek classical paintings, or on the other hand mere technical details of the manufacture." The knowledge which Mr. Marryat wanted, a knowledge of the dif- ferent kinds of pottery and porcelain—such knowledge as the late Dr. Dibdin taught of bibliography—" appeared limited to the dealers." As Mr. Marryat has formed a collection of, china, front which many of the numerous specimens in the volume have been engraved, we may presume he has acquired some of his knowledge in the only way by which anything can be acquired—by paying for it.

Direct purchase, however, is not the sole means by which Mr. Marryat has collected his materials. When fairly embarked in the attractive business of collecting, he made an, European tour, and visited the principal collections and manufactories of the Conti- nent. He has attended sales read treatises, gathered information from practical men, and turned incidental passages in miscellane- ous reading to account. Thus prepared, he began to compose for his amusement a manuscript work upon Pottery and Porcelain; which was to be illuminated and illustrated by his friend Sir Charles Birch, with" drawings of specimens of porcelain, portraits of the principal patrons of art, and views of the various places con-

nected with its manufacture." This idea was not completed ; but the materials collected by Mr. Marryat were rightly deemed by his friends to possess sullioient interest for publication. Mr. Mur. ray, partaking of their opinion, has embellished the work with a profusion of appropriate wood-outs, and many coloured plates of the choicest specimens of the potter's art.

• Collections towards a History of Pottery and Porcelain, in the Fifteenth. teenth. Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Coal:tries : with a Description of the Manufac- ture, a Glossary, and a List of Monograms. By Joi.eph Marryat. Illustrated with coloured Plates and Wood-cuts. Published by Murray. The book is such as might be 'looked for from its'intecestictili it is a gentleman's production. 'Clear and unaffected in its style,' without weakness and Without force—various, entertaining' and to a certain extent informing in 'its matter' it is not very deep, nor very comprehensive in its pan. Beyond a reference to Serip- ture, Nutria Pompilius, and the antiquity of the art in China, th,e reader learns nothing of the history Of pottery and' porcelain till the fifteenth century, and little or nothing of the'essential prin- ciples of the manufacture. Ile is intrcidueed to .-potterY when it was ' fulf-groivn and -brought- into Italy froth thellioorish manu- factories in the island of Majorca : for although the'-artilstical representations of man and anntalsafter the designs of the great Italian painters (forbidden to the Mahonietans)- gave- variety and extensiOU to. the orilaaliiahrriewte cf. :_pettery, it itrayr‘bei:fietthtecl._ whether they were eh' appropriate to pottsrt as ornamental base/4 on, foliage, flowers, and fruit. In the executive part, it senina.clen.r, no improvement has taken plate since the time of the Moor .10The blue and white. tile.with the gold running pattern, oppe,sitopage 4, is as chaste and. fine a specimen of workmaeship as caubeprodneed. The case is the same with porcelain : the Chinese ar,e still unap- reachable in the excellence of the wore, though therehaaheea, no, culty in improving upon their designs. Whether, -eritie speaking, this is an imprevement upon -the whole, where .netgra ornaments have been placed upon grotesque or peouliar.forms, must• be left to individual taste. Neither pottery nor porcelain, however, is entitled to rank as a modern European art. The original inven- Ors whether Chinese, Atiiatics,.Fgyptians, or Moors, reached the height of appropriate excellence, and perhapsof all excellence,:n Europe, the highest art displayed wpm pottery was copied; fil'?ln paintings or engravings, rarely if ever designoctfor the pin-pelf* Nhe, celebrated Palissy is hardly an exception to this remark ; . for ,a1- though. he did not imitate any other school, but coph d hii flowera, shells, reptiles, &e., direct fronynatore, yet his forms were rarelyepe prppriate to their purpose.. .-Wedgewood, much as he improved., the manufacture and extendedthe husino.sa, had little originality in .his designs, which were based upou the antique, These two men were the only persons entitled to the claim of originality in connexion with the plastic art ; unless Po:Atelier, the discoverer of Dresden foreelain, be an exception. All others were "bit by bit" men.. They took ideas from the Moors or the Chinese ; they improved upon the common knowledge by accident or by experiment; but Palissy and Wedgewood alone pursued discovery and improve- ment upon system, at least successfully. , Pottery and:poroelain are each divided into soft, and, hard ; the term having referent* both to. the composition and: to the degree of heat to whichit has been exposed in the furnace. In pottery, for instance, common brick is soft and fire-brick hard : the cha- raoteristio throughout is that soft pottery may be scratched with a _knife and hard cannot. Porcelaia,is tested in like manner, but a;further test is the application of heat. The best China porcelain may be expesed, without damage in a furnace, in which all Eu- ropean porcelain ,except Dresden melts away. . Hard and soft pottery have each it respective subdivisions ; soft pottery con- sisting of unglazed, luetrous, glazed, and enamelled ; hard, of fine earthen-ware and stone-ware. The subdivision of soft poreelain is technical, if not arbitrary, being that which is naturally and that which is artificially soft. . The separating line between, pottery and porcelain is the opacity of the pottery.

These are the subjects of Mr. Marryat ; which he treats histo- rically and critically. He . begins with the rise of the art in Italy during the fifteenth century, derived from the imported Moorish tiles, After being .improved in Italy, in: the way we have inti- mated,..by the, use of a new class of. designs, the art spread into Germany, France, Holland,. and England that is of course, the higher kinds of pottery, to which the author confines his atten- tion; for mere crockery-ware has always been in use among all peoples with any pretension to civilization. The history of porce- lain is traced in like manner from its discovery by BOttcher at Dresden,, about the beginning of the last century; but there is more of historical gossip on -the " eines " . of our ancestors. 1.4 each country Mr. Marryat pursues the history by means of the different manufactories of any ,.celebrity, and mingles with the story of improvement and the characters of the work, biographical notices of the improver, on a scale proportionate to his merit is a potter. Some manufactories are too unimportant (save to the col- lector) for specific, notice, but to produce a handbook was one of the objects of the author. Notices of the secondary manufactories,

too, are always brief. .

Porcelain altogether depends upon the nature of the Materials, the place which yielded them being often a secret. In both arts, too, there are or were secret processes, on which the excellence the production rested; or the higher workmen had a peculiar ability which could not be commanded, in the common market. Ilence, to keep the secret; or to retain the craftsman from eager and unscru- pulous competitors, was a great object. Augustus of Saxony kept latcher and some of his assistants in a sort of free custody; at a subsequent period the caution extended to every one employed at Dresden, and only yielded in our times to Napoleonic power. , " Batcher's discovery soon become the object of the most lively jealousy; and it was natural that every means to obtain the secret should be' tried' by other nations, as well as that the Elector should take every precaution to keep it to himself. *Strict' injunctions to eeerecy were enjoined uponithe , -workmen, not only in regard to strangers but also towards their comrades: but notwithstanding this, even before Botteher's• death one of the foremen escaped from the manufactory and went to Vienna ; and from that city the secret spread over GennanY, and Many rival establishments were set on W.A. "Notwithstanding the secret had thus become known, all the details o the proceedings of the manufactory at Meissen continued to be concealed tfithilit9iithitaeitiqPIThe llightiiialtInah IRuitt.fidaY a completenfor- -

. trerts,Vid iiiiillii Ofukhiili rfalt4ffitilliedlila W'r 116 strialoci'Vetag a.:li tto 'l teidliiider ithyPretehetPwlititeVer. litibii& ' - tti" se-

cure VAS fio ect'Were earned '0' riii .'eifelit'ai " en 011ie 1E ' "work- man, even. the 'Chief insptcefoi'',Mias sworn ti "silehce: qtrirl'injuitetiOn Was formally repeated' every monith"to the superior 'Catefirti ethplotvhik, the vrorkinen'hareantitairtiYhefOre their eyes in large'leftrs Red up-in the workshops, . the warning motto of ' Be secret until dtte--Nhiffit 'WaWell knoWn that iitikione lfiktiltiii6itheprocess would belkiiii,S4d'ititif **Fan- merit for lifelfi tlib'Cl&fie8flonigstein. Even thelthighiinSelf; irelititilie took' strangers of distinetion to visit tire' Works; was strictly enjoined to

secrecy. 10

" A.1 the all-powerful' requiiition'of 'Napoleon, the King, permitted M. Brongniart to itrapeet'llseit'orkiiatirrfuMhees in 1812. Even at thjsIte period it was %Mid neesarylthottolti&Se'M:-'Stciricau the'director-froiti e . obligation of his tifitkleereibMiiihritketrItrin4h 1 ' '1.ritridithia',11eVive of acceis was givenU:.114. giotigniert only,'.111S't , ' Cortipafiroliridtheing

alloived ttracconmany himi,',ffpti: , .u bn.,:: ,nrgim en. ,..

:These precautions,: howerier;, rarely avitiledte Aivirorkinam.has, we have seen, .escaped,-froarDrestion; sometitneturraprentoned`the enemy'ii:eamp.'''. - ..: . .. ' '‘q sr. 31..ni ,.-..-.21.111(2-0.nk, ...: f " Towards the end of the seventeenth centrarksinieisperiinehatageffulai, pan wanewere imported tinko,-Aluropq.„_, Militehaandiryn lisliyaaanefae-. Aboirtfliii period twOhio heoto , lidire o ' ' ii, nom- u ni -4. _ '1 coferettitSradw4L'oilly-fWonitleti-d' frfioni rdif neti ;flUitimiir-


tuuers attempted to imitle,fil, ,40)t, tr71W- .7 ditY pact 4'ed.,,tday, whielirtheywciledAh tesimillhniitialailory, &UMW:red:in:1 retired sitnationupouithe had itneit •fEliatook everypreeriutiontiiravent any one:seeing thair pvcosa al learaikazAhet4.,se_offy, Rile nit seeferasa, to p ON 011L 1,1. , ,e,..11lAlieyiCQ1,11 filld. .,i.stbury, tli-e e 1118':st'Yt1F4' Vitt trle 431 'WI ref, • oven,' the the ' irea6:a fo' ekiiiiRlInkMraiiiifericanfOR ' daring Which he jeohtinted7fia %ha eirilidey: fikortirMelnOryilik .e-"riotes of the pro- cesses and drawings of the machinery used. In consequence of the secret beinglthusAliseoyered, ttuintrous. estnitlisltincote,leteDO: an,Oornpetitioniwith thatof the .Elers ; anti; curing to the;goneral4preindiewegainst.thein art, fo- reigners, they were linallyrcompellect,M;1729 Imicprititheir iestablishment. They retired to the neighbourhood of London, and, it is supposek_Contri- bitted ...by their -skill and.industry to the eatablishmeut of the Chelsea Porce-

lain Manufactory." , .. ,

According to Sydney Smith, the ballot-box would be useful only to an unmarried man who drank nothing but water. It does not appear that matrimony caused any secrets of trade in porcelain to be divulged ; but wine did. '

,Iff. iEkiCIIST <1•IA:YENCE.) ' .r : , :- "' • II " During the electorate of John Frederic Charles, Archbishop of 3fayenee- a Merchant of Erankfort,ortAthe-Main. named Gels,- who had a celebrated pottery ,cstablislunent in the ,neighbotuing village of, lifichst, on , the Niddrti. in the territory of Mayence,Wasinduced by one of his workmen named 'B.,' graf to try the.texperiment of ,,changing it into a poroelain maritifactory. , For some time the attempt( was, unsuccessful ; but haying induced an artisan of the Vienimmanufactorynamedillingler to join him, he at length, in 1740, succeeded in making good. porcelain . . " Thiamanefeetory continued to thrive under Rineler'smanagement; but he beineond of wine, . his fellow, workmen took an oppertimity of making him intoxicated, and while lie wasin a state of stupefaction got possession and took copies of his papers relating to the .manufacture of.porcelitm, -which he always carried about with him. : In Ellie...manner -thclidebat workmen became possessed of the secret;, and. then offered 'their fraudulently. aeqeired. skill to rich and enterprising parties, for the establishment of porcelain ma-,

nufactories in ether districts. . .

"Bingler-has the merit of having raised himself from a commoapetter to an !' arcanist,' as the Germans term one who is the sole depositorktf an im- portant secret ; . mid although the extension of this valuable disoovery was sorely_ against his will, he mutt be:;regitrded as -the founder of most, of the German:inanufacteries. Besides these, the manufactories. ,of Switzerland, as well as those on the Lower Rhine and of Cassel, have to thank Ringler's workmen for their origin, and.,eyen that of Berlin emanated from Hochst." This secrecy in the ,proRts. has . not been altogether unattended

with its usual concomitants of Mystery and loss. The finest hard _ pottery of France is in this predicament. ,

• "FINE EARTHEN-WARE (FAYENCE FINE.) FRANCE. • "The earliest fabric known is that mystmious and unique manufacture Of the 'Renaissance,' the fine Payenee of Henry II:' The manufacture-efithis ware, which was at once carried toa high degree of perfection, seems to have been suddenly and unaccountably test, without leaVing any rectird of where or by Whom it NVIIS produced. By many it is sUpposectto be or-Flo rentine manufacture, and to have been sent by some of the relations of Catherine de'lledicis as a present to Henry II.; but it differs 'too essen- tially froMItaliatildajelica, both in the paste of which it is composed andin the style in which it is decorated, to warrant such a conjecture. Italy does not possess inits musenins asingle specimen of this ware,: and-of thethirty- seven pieces extant twenty-seven have been traced as coming fremTonnune and La Verul6e. Many antiquaries, therefore, infer that the manufacture was at Thouars, in Touraine, although the Fayenee may have been the work of an Italian artist.

'But if the place of its 'manufacture is unknown,, the pieces extant' clearly attest the period of its- fabrication, ' The salamander, and other insignia of Francis I,., are inet.with.on. the earlier speeimensof ;4* pottery ; but 'u the majonty.of,pieees, upon those more pure in design and more beautifi in execution than -the preceding we find the arms of Henry II., with his device, the three'crescents, or 'his initial H, interlaced with the two D's of the Dueliesse de Talentinois. Indeed, so constantly do her emblems appear upon, the Piece; -that the ware, :though usually designated as 'Faience de Henri II.,' is sometimes styled 'Faience de DMne, de Poitiers.' Even, her widow's colours,. black and white, are the two which are employed in some of the finest pieces, They were the fashionable colours of the court ; Henry wore no others during his life,. and was attired in them in the fatal tourna- ment in which ho felL Her unpresa, the crescent of Diana,•is conspicuous on his palaces, and he even caused it to be engraved upon. his coins, 1. From these .circurestances,wa nnist..therefere conclude that the manufacture of this were began at the end of the reign of Francis I., and was continued under that of Henry II.-;' and, iii-W"C find upon it-the emblems of these' two princes only we maynaturally infer that it is of French origin. pasta of which this Fayence is .coniposed is equally distinct from Majolica and Palissy ware. The two latter are bothsoft • -whereas this, on the contrary, is hard. It is a true pipe-clay ,:very fine and very white; so as not to require, like the Italian Peyence, to he conceded by a thick enamel, and the ornaments with' it is enrichedare simply covered with a thin, transparent, yellowish varnish.''' "The style of decoration of this ware,is unique. Patterns, or Anibesques, are engraved on the paste, and the indentures filled with coloured pastes, so as to present an uniform. smooth surfiree, of the finest inlaying, or resem- blingonther, a Model of Cellini's silver work, chiselled and worked in Mello. Bence it isometiies styled 'Faience e„ niellure: These patterns are sometimes disposei zones of yellow ochre, with borders of dark brown, sometimes of a pink, green, violet, black, or blue ; but the dark yellow ochre is the predomiaant oulonr. "In additien to these elegant niello,like decoration?, this beautiful Fayence is enriched with raised ornaments, in bold relief, consisting of masks, eseutch- eons, lizards, frogs, shells, garlands, ke. In all, of these, the pink colour predominates. The forms of the pieces are always in the purest in of the 'Renaissance,' and are 80 finely modelled and so exquisite m execution, as to be compared with the chiselled and damascened works of the goldsmiths of the sixteenth century. They are usually small and light, and consist mostly of ornamental; pieces—cups, ewers, sled a vase of peenliar form, to which tile French, have grven the name of Biberon.' " In its origin, and indeed till the decadence of the art from change, of fashion and the taste for cheapness, -fins pottery and porcelain were 'princely men.ufacturesi■ not only carried on under royal patronage, but as royal establishments. Profit, though not altogether disregarded, was subordinate to excellence • the cost of the ware -was therefore very great. Even Wedgewood though patrOnized by royalty and animated by higher than trading objects, was still compelled to live, and could not avoid very high prices. The sums now commanded when the finest articles come into the market at sales, seem higher than the original cost could have been. It must, however, be borne in mind, that though the price is enormous, the outlay is not so vast as for a complete set Even one made at Chelsea for Queen Charlotte' in her younger' days cost 12001. The following prices for Sevres were produced at Stowe.

"The very &eke collection of. Sevres porcelain at Stowe sold at high prices. A small coffee-cup which weighed scarcely three ounces realized 46-guineas; and another i similar but somewhat inferior, sold for 35 guineas. A chocolate cup and saucer, bleu de Nei; with beautiful miniatures of two ladies à the Court of Louis XV. and font paintings of Capide, though slightly injured during the view, realized 45 guineas. The prices obtained for most of the cups and saucers were from ten to twelve guineas. A beautiful speci- men of a bleu de Roi cup, saucer, and corer, jewelled in festoons, cameos, and imitation of pearls, sold for 35/. 10s.; and another, somewhat inferior, for 21 guineas. A salver, mounted in a table with ormolu ornaments, sold for 81 guineas; the companion piece for 1001."

The mysterious French -ware the "Faience de Henry II." like- wise commands high prices.

"The most choice specimen in the cabinet of M. Prelim, was the candle- stick of which we give a figure, and which was purchased by Sir Anthony de Rothschild for the sum of 4900 francs. The surface is exquisitely en- riched with Arabesque patterns, either in black upon a white ground, or in white upon a black. The form is monumental, and in the finest style; three figures of genii support escutcheons, bearing the arms of France and the double D. These genii stand upon masks, which are united by garlands ena- melled in green. The top of the candlestick terminates in the form of a vitae, and bears inscribed the fleurs-de-lys and the monogram of our Saviour. This piece, for delicacy of detail and beauty of execution, is unequalled by any specimen known of this exquisite Fayence. Sir Anthony de Rothschild also purchafted at M. Primes sale a small cup, decorated in the game style, with the crescents interlaced, for which he gave 1300 francs. He therefore now is fortunate in having the finest collection known of this ware, as, in addition to the specimens already mentioned, he possesses two exquisite ewers of the Henry II. Fayence. One he purchased at the sale of the Comte de Monville for 2300 francs; the other, with a curious handle of ela- borate workmanship, he bought for nineteen guineas at Strawberry Hill, where he also purchased a tripod salt-cellar, supported with scroll ornaments, for 21/. These two pieces were described in the catalogue as Majolica and PaliSsy ware."

The real china of the finest character, the pride and delight of the fine ladies of the days of Aim- and the earlier Brunswicks, still holds its ground.

"At Strawberry Hill sale, two small vases of the old sea-green ware sold' for 221., and three match-pots of turquoise bamboo pattern for 251. At the late Mr. Beckford's sale, in November 1845, a pair of small egg-shell cups and saucers of 'the rare yellow ground' sold for 8/. Se., and another lot of two pairs for twelve guineas and a half. The pletes with ruby backs sold at from three to four guineas each. The lapis-lazuli and mazarine specimen ,a as well as the green enamelled, were of the finest description, and fetched very, high prices. A stork, of Chinese porcelain, was among the many rare specimens of the collection. The quantity of cups and saucers was enor- mous and it is said that Mr. Be,ckford possessed a autReient number for a breakfast-set every day throughout the year, without using any service a secondtinie."

There is something melancholy in decline ; but although what is popularly called "china"' most appropriately combines the useful with the ornamental, and approaches nearer than any other useful production to a fine art, still its decadence can hardly be regretted. It doss not seem lik,ely that it could ever have risen to the rank of a really-homogeneous art. In practice there was always somet incongruous and monstrous about it; and its votaries so man

their devotions as to throw an air of silliness and foppery over the pursoit. A dessert-service with designs of leaves and fruit seems the nearest approach to congruity; but the brittleness of the sub- stance is an obstacle to the employment of any artists but copy- ists on the work. This weak point of the art Johnson perceived with his'usual sense. In going over the manufactory at Derby, lie observed that the Chinn was beautiful, but it was too dear; for he could have vessels of silver of the same size as cheap as what was there made of porcelain. Still the art is an important feature in the progress of social re- finement and luxury; and its history abounds with curious ex- amples of ingenuity, perseveranee, skill, and the application of accident to a purpose. A taste for, the 'collection of pottery and porcelain is not only harmless, but it were much to be regretted that these examples of former social tastes and of craftsmanlike ability should be lost, or even diminished. Mr. Marryat has done good service in presenting his knowledge to the world, and in* complete a manner as regards accessories. A glossary of terms follows his historical and critical sketches, illustrated like his text by wood-cuts, and containing information much beyond a mere explanation of terms. This glossary is followed by the "marks and monograms" distinguishing the different manufactories, by chronological tables of the history of the art after Brongniart, and a list of the private collections in Great Britain, besides a variety of tables of reference. In the "getting up" Mr. Murray has sus- tained his reputation for taste : the volume will worthily occupy a place on the drawingroom-table, or among the articles of vertA it illustrates.