The 18th cenury England the demand for tea grew dramatically. In 1664 The East India Company placed a cautious order for 100 lbs of tea. By 1750 annual imports had reached 4,727,992 lbs. Drinking this new fashionable beverage meant you needed a new fashionable tea set to serve it. Porcelain companies were etsablished to fufil the demand and boomed as a result.
In 1775 Thomas Turner began manufacturing porcelain at Caughley in Shropshire. Initially production concentrated on functional wares with under glaze blue patterns heavily influenced by Chinese and Worcester porcelains. In fact, Caughley is credited by some with creating the ever popular willow pattern.
Printing from copper plate engravings enabled designs to be mass produced on common tea and dessert wares. Alongside this more economical mode of decoration, Caughley continued to produce more esclusive hand painted porcelain in a range of oriental and european styles.
Shropsire Museums has one of the finest collections of Caughley in the country including some rare and, in some cases, unique pieces. This week the Caughley Society began a project with us to update and imporove our online collection catalogue. This involves checking each piece against its catalogue record and photographing each item. Their expertise will ensure that accurate and detailed descriptions of each piece can be added allowing both our physical and virtual visitors to find out more about this remarkable collection.
In the meantime, a small selection of our collection can be found by searching for ‘Caughley’ in the search box above right.