The nineteenth century saw the perfection and invention of many new ceramic bodies and methods of decoration. These techniques enabled the mass-production of quality, yet affordable tableware that appealed to a wide segment of the market. This period was also characterized by stylistic eclecticism.
William Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton (1839–1877) and Dr. Walter Butler Cheadle (1836–1910) travelled from Quebec to Victoria between 1862 and 1863, later publishing an account of their adventures, The North-West Passage by Land (London, 1865). To commemorate their journey, Lord Milton commissioned two dessert services decorated with scenes from the publication from Minton. He presented one to his travelling companion, Dr. Cheadle.
Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852), a pioneer of the Gothic Revival style in England, produced many Gothic tableware designs for Minton. This iconic bread dish, decorated with a rosette and stalks of wheat and inscribed Waste Not Want Not, was the first such pattern. The concept of inlaying coloured clays to form a design, instead of using enamels or glazes, was called “encaustic” in the nineteenth century. It was copied from medieval floor tiles.
The exploits of Sir William Parry (1790–1855) on his two expeditions to the Arctic were popular on both sides of the Atlantic after the publication of his Journal of a Voyage of Discovery of a North-West Passage in 1821 and 1824. Here we see the ships Hecla and Griper in the ice at Melville Sound. A border of tropical animals encircles the scene, perhaps because Parry was seeking a viable northern route to China and India.
Scenes of sports reflecting the romance of Canadian outdoors and winters inspired the Scottish tableware manufacturer John Marshall and Co., Bo’ness Pottery. The source for these pictures may have been greeting cards published in the 1880s by Bennet and Co. This line was used in summer houses and cottages.
Made at the St. John's Stone Chinaware Company in Quebec, this teapot has a sky-blue body emulating Wedgwood jasperware and is one of the factory’s signature and higher-end lines. It was made from imported English clay and French blue flint. The pattern also came in white with blue sprig decoration.
This style of pottery is associated with the productions of the Brownscombe Pottery in Kinloss Township, Ontario, which was active between c. 1870-90. This jug is made of earthenware, which has been shaped on a wheel, and then decorated with applied sprays of flowers and single blooms, and given a red tinged glaze. It has a vibrant, naïve quality, and is a superb example of Brownscombe work.