Pattern records tell us that one of Carlton Ware's earliest designs by Horace Wain was named DRESDEN . This springs to mind because the city is in the news.
Seventy years ago this week, the architectural gem, in the East of Germany, close to the Czech Republic, was heavily firebombed by the Allies.
It was at Dresden in 1709 that European porcelain was formulated. Many artists, who previously had been attracted to the royal capital, began to decorate the new ceramic in highly skillful ways.
Dresden, and indeed the nearby town of Meissen, is associated with the rococo style of porcelain characterized by a profusion of flowers, foliage, fruits, shells and scrolls, not only in pattern, but also in shape, as in the example below.
It is not surprising that Horace Wain was influenced by the German manufactory since he was keen on traditional patterns and shapes, as typified by his adoption of Chinese and Japanese styles such as his KANG-HSI and KIEN LUNG ranges of patterns.
Wain was also fond of the work of other long established porcelain and china manufacturers such as Worcester, Swansea, Lowestoft and Crown Derby.
The fancy panels on the two examples of his DRESDEN 2033 pattern, shown right, are edged with elaborate hand gilt scrolls, befitting of the rococo style, though the shapes are Chinese in origin.
Carlton Ware's DRESDEN pattern is crude in comparison to the work of the German decorators. Wain, however, is being innovative by experimenting with new decorating techniques. Here he employs what must be some of the first slide on chromo-lithographs to be used on pottery combining them with freehand painting and gilding. He will have known the supplier of the chromo-lithograph, and may have been asked to see what he could achieve with the new transfer decorations.
In 1935, some twenty or so years later, Susie Cooper pays her tribute to Dresden with a pattern of the same name, coincidently using a chromo-lithograph, which had much improved. To the untrained eye it is very hard to tell that the decoration is not freehand painted.
Minton, Doulton and Crown Staffordshire also used the Dresden name and no doubt many others potteries. ❑
So highly regarded was the work carried out in Dresden that in the nineteenth century, a southern district of Stoke-on-Trent was named after the city. ❑
© Harvey Pettit 2015