A couple of years ago, a reader enquired about the origins of the porcelain teawares I pictured in When Life Gives You Lemons…. It’s the Malay House pattern produced by the New Hall factory in Staffordshire in the late eighteenth-century (fig. 1).
Fig. 1. New Hall ‘silver shape’ teapot in the Malay House pattern, circa 1790.
Before any scholarly works were written on the enigmatic New Hall factory, identifying its hundreds of patterns; many of the patterns were known to antiques dealers and collectors by more familiar names.
When I began collecting New Hall wares, the Malay House pattern was commonly referred to as the Trench Mortar pattern due to what looks like a row of trench mortars alongside the house (fig. 2).
Fig. 2. New Hall ogee, spiral fluted teapot in the Malay House pattern, circa 1795.
The skies above eighteenth-century Staffordshire must have hung heavy with smoke from the thousands of pottery kilns: There were numerous potteries producing wares in imitation of the fashionable imports from the Far East. Factories such as Caughley, Coalport, Derby, Spode, Wedgwood and Worcester quickly became household names – some due to royal patronage.
Most factories developed a numerical system of cataloguing their patterns, though original records are frequently patchy or nonexistent. Despite manufacturers numbering their patterns, many of the common names endure (usually reflecting a principal feature) and are frequently comical or irreverent.
Fig. 3. Worcester Milkmaid At The Gate pattern , circa 1760. (Juno Antiques)
Fig. 4. Worcester Cannonball pattern saucer, circa 1762.
Fig. 5. Worcester Stag Hunt plate, circa 1780.
Fig. 6. New Hall Knitting Wool pattern (425) saucer, circa 1790.
Fig. 7. Keeling Picture Postcard pattern (X131) saucer, circa 1790.
Fig. 8. New Hall Doll’s House pattern (1084) saucer, circa 1815.
And then there’s a recurring one that I like to call the I Can See My House From Here pattern.
Fig. 9. Mid-eighteenth-century tin-glazed dish.