Fine pottery remade after an absence of 200 years
EXPERTS have managed to recreate a historic porcelain last made 200 years ago.
A team of ceramicists and experts at the Nantgarw China Works Museum have spent the past six months trying to recreate the famous Nantgarw porcelain.
To many, it is regarded as the finest porcelain ever made.
Nantgarw porcelain was invented by William Billingsley in 1813. It was revered as being the whitest, finest grained and most translucent porcelain made.
But there were difficulties in creating it and the factory closed four years after production.
Original pieces of Nantgarw porcelain are now highly collectible with some items changing hands for thousands of pounds.
Experts have spent six months using a combination of methodical historic research, forensic analysis of shards and experiments to recreate the original recipe.
They have used expertise from several universities, industrial chemists, current manufacturers of porcelains as well as specialist sculptors, mould-makers and slip casters.
Project manager Charles Fountain said: “No one has made a porcelain like this for the best part of 200 years so we have had to adapt and develop new techniques both to create it but also to successfully mould, slip cast and fire the new work.
“The new porcelain is visually identical to the original and shows the same exceptional translucency.
“Quite frankly it is beautiful, totally unique and unlike any other ceramic body available today.”
Howell Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Spectroscopy at the University of Bradford said that his examination has shown that the original and the new Nantgarw porcelain are “almost identical”.
Ceramicist Sally Stubbings has led the development of the porcelain.
She said: “We have learned a great deal more about the porcelain and now understand the difficulties they had in firing this ceramic body in the early 19th Century.
“Many of their problems centred around not being able to have precise control of the heat and temperature in the early bottle kilns.
“Using modern electric kilns we have discovered that even a few degrees difference in temperature can have a huge effect on the way the porcelain behaves.”
The project has been funded through a Research and Development Grant from the Arts Council of Wales.
They have also raised £16,000 through a Crowdfunding campaign.
The first items made from the porcelain are being made as one of the rewards for donors to the crowdfunding.
Examples of the new porcelain can be seen in a small exhibition at Nantgarw China Works Museum, on Tyla Gwyn.
It is hoped that artists can then be commissioned to create pieces for a future exhibition.
A team working at Nantgarw China Works Museum has recreated the recipe for the famous Nantgarw porcelain, last made 200 years ago