In a typical home there are likely to be more objects made of ceramics – earthenware, stoneware and porcelain – than any other single category of material. Most will be 1900's and 2000's, a fair proportion will be late Victorian and perhaps a few pieces will be earlier.
Oriental ceramics have a far richer history than those in the west. Fine porcelain was made in China from at least the 800's and started to reach Europe around 1600's.
Despite their inherent fragility, many early Chinese pieces survive and are keenly collected.
Basic Ceramic Identification & Dating Guide
This is a basic guide to the identification and dating of British ceramics.
The earliest ceramics made by humans were potteryobjects (pots or vessels) or figurinesmade from clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials like silica, hardened and sinteredin fire. Later, ceramics were glazedand fired to create smooth, coloured surfaces, decreasing porositythrough the use of glassy, amorphous ceramic coatings on top of the crystalline ceramic substrates. Common examples are earthenware, porcelain, and brick. We will look at the long and rich history.
Ceramics are generally made by taking mixtures of clay, earthen elements, powders, and water and shaping them into desired forms. Once the ceramic has been shaped, it is fired in a high temperature oven known as a kiln. Often, ceramics are covered in decorative, waterproof, paint-like substances known as glazes. In this section we will take a general look at some ceramic manufacturers and the long rich ceramic history.