Tureen with cover and stand, earthenware, 'Wattle' pattern, designed by Louis Bilton for Doulton, Burslem, England, c 1900
This tureen and stand belong to the Bill Chapman Collection. Collected mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, the majority of objects from the collection illustrate the use of Australian imagery in ceramics, glass and metalwork made either in Britain for the Australian market, or in Australia, in the late 19th century and in the first part of the 20th century.
Australian and English manufacturers of decorative arts became interested in Australian flora and fauna motifs in the early 19th century. From the mid 1850s, following the discovery of gold in Australia in 1851, they began using Australian imagery on a larger scale - among the most striking early examples were silver presentation pieces and gold jewellery. In the late 19th century and in the decades that followed Australia's Federation in 1901, a number of ceramics decorated with Australian motifs were produced in Britain. Wedgwood, Doulton and Worcester in particular designed and made series of wares mostly destined for the Australian market. These tablewares were sold by local retailers for example Sydney's Flavelle Bros, Feldheim Gotthelf and Co and Anthony Horden. Australian firms often copied English designs, particularly those transfer-printed at Doulton.
Designed at Doulton, Burslem, England, c. 1900, with transfer printed 'Wattle' pattern after designs by Louis Bilton.
Louis Bilton (1892-1912) was a gifted painter of birds and flowers who trained at Minton. He visited Australia in the 1880s to illustrate 'The picturesque atlas of Australasia '. After his return to England he was employed at Doulton where he used his splendid portfolio of Australian wildflowers such as the wattle, waratah, wild fuschia, desert pea, flannel flower, the bottle brush and the grevillia to provide new designs. Bilton's designs were displayed to great acclaim on many vases and pots at the 1893 Chicago Exhibition.
Some of his floral designs were reproduced, as lithographs, on Doulton's early 20th century tableware.
Made at Doulton, Burslem, England, c. 1900. Distributed by Feldheim Gotthelf & Co., Sydney, 1905.
The Doulton pottery was established in 1815 in Lambeth, South London. First known as Jones, Watts and Doulton and then Doulton and Watts, the firm specialised in salt glazed stoneware sanitary, chemical and domestic articles. Managed by Henry Doulton (1820-1897), in 1854 the firm began to trade under the name Doulton and Co. At the 1862 London International Exhibition, it exhibited the usual range of wares and an important addition, a large decorative stoneware saltcellar. The exhibition was a turning point for Doulton and marked the beginning of the production of decorative stoneware known as 'Doulton Ware' which were to win the firm international recognition. From 1866 the pottery was closely associated with the Lambeth School of Art whose students, including George Tinworth, provided innovative models for, and decorated vases, sculptural ornaments and plaques; even large-scale fountains were made.
The success of Doulton's 'art wares' shown at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition encouraged Henry Doulton to establish an art department to design unique pieces for international exhibitions. In 1877 Henry Doulton entered into a partnership with Shadford Pinder, the proprietor of an earthenware pottery in Burslem, Staffordshire, and the firm changed its name to Pinder, Bourne and Company. The partnership with Pinder dissolved in 1882, Doulton and Co now operated in two locations: Lambeth and Burslem. In 1879 an impressive selection of Lambeth objects was shipped to Sydney for display in Australia's first international exhibition. Following the closure of the show, works were purchased for the new Technological and Sanitary Museum, now known as the Powerhouse Museum. In 1882, the Garden Palace, which housed both the exhibition and the museum's first collection, was destroyed. A splendid replacement collection was provided by Doulton which now forms part of the Museum's internationally renowned collection of Doulton ceramics.
Under the management of John Bailey and artistic guidance of John Slater, the new Burslem factory proved to be a great success and a new bone china department was constructed in 1884. A small range of floral painted wares was exhibited at the 1892 Paris Exhibition and was awarded the Grand Prix. A spectacular range of works was sent to the 1893 Chicago Exhibition in America securing Doulton seven of the highest awards, the most given to any ceramic firm. By 1890, a total of 345 people were employed at Burslem. George Tinworth was joined by Hannah, Arthur and Florence Barlow, Frank Butler, Eliza Simmance, Mark V. Marshall and others. These artists developed a wide range of decorating techniques including incised and applied relief and pate-sur-pate painting. These developments complemented distinctive wares created in Lambeth such as Faience, Impasto, Silicon and Marqueterie wares. Henry Doulton died in 1897, and in 1899 a limited company was formed. Two years later King Edward VII granted the firm the rare privilege of using the word 'Royal' on its products.
During the first half of the 20th century, the utilitarian wares and decorative stoneware continued to be produced at Lambeth, and the Burslem works were busy with the tableware series ware and later also with figurines. One of the most significant developments at Burslem was the rediscovery of the ancient techniques used by Chinese potters. Charles Noke, art director from 1914, had experimented since the late 1890s with transmutation glazes and was largely responsible for the success of rouge flambe, crystalline and titanium wares, and Sung and Chang series. Following the closure of the Lambeth works in 1956, Royal Doulton divided its interests into four major subsidiaries covering the areas of decorative porcelain ('fine china'), industrial porcelain, sanitary porcelain and 'vitrified pipes'. Today, Royal Doulton is the word's leading supplier of premium ceramic tableware, giftware, collectables and crystal. Its brand portfolio includes Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, Minton and John Beswick.