Antique Porcelain Collectibles information resources from Antique Central

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Antique Porcelain Collectibles

  Antique Porcelain

Antique Chinese Porcelain

Collectible Japanese Porcelain

English Porcelain

French Porcelain

Italian Porcelain Collectibles

German  Porcelain

Antique English Porcelain Adderley tea cup and saucer

German porcelain Meissen rococo clock case, c 1850

Japanese porcelain Imari dish, c1700

French Antique Porcelain spice box,
 c 1730

As a collector of antique porcelain, learning about the differences in materials and techniques used in making porcelain, as well as representative shapes, decoration styles, and marks is essential in identifying the age, origin, authenticity, and ultimately the value of the piece. This site is intended to help you achieve just that!

Antique porcelain was first made in China in the 9th century, and later, was widely imitated by western countries during the 18th century.

English importation of Chinese porcelain during the 17th century increased the interest of English potters in discovering the techniques used by the Chinese. A source for kaolin (china clay) was found and porcelain manufacture was attempted at Meissen, near Dresden. By 1718 patents (china stone) had been located, and so began the production by the English of the hard-paste white porcelain. Eventually, ceramic manufacturers throughout Europe were producing pieces of antique porcelain. However, the method used by the English to produce the hard-paste was prone to twisting during turning and firing, and the colors were overly dark.

Another type of porcelain, known as soft-paste, was introduced in Florence, Italy in 1575, influencing factories in Rouen, St. Cloud, Chantilly, Mennecy, Sevres, and Italy, and several varieties of soft-paste porcelain were made in England around the mid-eighteenth century. 

More care must be taken with soft-paste porcelain, for it is not as hard and is more easily scratched and chipped than hard-paste porcelain. The glaze on these pieces physically sits on the surface of the body, feels warmer and softer to the touch, and is less glistening in appearance. 

After handling several pieces of antique porcelain it becomes easy for the collector to distinguish between the two types, especially on figurines. The overglaze decoration on hard-paste is raised and distinctive with crisper, more detailed modeling, whereas the decoration on soft-paste porcelain tends to sink into the glaze, giving a more blurred outline with pooling often occurring in the crevices.

It is essential that antique porcelain collectors gain some familiarity with the basic shapes of porcelain for the shape often reflects its usage as well as the social background of the time.

Porcelain pieces using powdered glass is distinguished by a beautiful ivory or creamy appearance. Powdered soapstone is also used in some antique porcelain pieces, producing a white, more plastic body. Potters also used powdered, calcinated ox bones or what is known as bone-ash to produce a denser, heavier body.

The most important, and generally reliable, test to identifying antique porcelain from pottery is by holding the piece up to a light. If the body is opaque and does not transmit light, then it is earthenware, but if light shines through the body and is translucent, then it is porcelain or a thinly potted stoneware. Once the antique collector has handled and evaluated several pieces in this way, it will be become easy to distinguish the difference between translucent stoneware and porcelain.

Our site contains MUCH information and tips for the antique collector in identifying and selecting quality antique porcelain collectibles.
After you have gained the knowledge you need in identifying and selecting antique porcelain, it is also valuable to actually visit your local antique stores were you can handle actual porcelain pieces for comparison.






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