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Bust

  • Place of origin:

    Fulham (made)

  • Date:

    1673-1675 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Dwight's Fulham Pottery (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Salt-glazed stoneware, with hand-modelling

  • Museum number:

    1053-1871

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 22, shelf 1

Object Type
Possibly the earliest portrait bust to be modelled in salt-glazed stoneware anywhere in Europe, this bust was clearly modelled by an accomplished (but still unknown) sculptor familiar with working in terracotta or wax. As the founder of the Fulham Pottery, John Dwight had high hopes for his patented material and, like Josiah Wedgwood in the 18th century, intended that his humble pottery should become associated with the fine arts, and perhaps therefore with wealthy patronage.

People
John Dwight, scholar and talented chemist, came from an Oxfordshire farming family. Like many upwardly mobile people in the Restoration period, he commissioned his family portraits, comprising stoneware busts of himself, his wife and recently-deceased daughter Lydia. These all survived within the Dwight family until their discovery on the death of his last descendant in 1859.

Materials & Making
Soft stoneware clay must have seemed ideal for modelling, because it could later be fired and made as hard as flint. Some of Dwight's figures were even painted with brown iron slip to resemble bronze. Almost a century passed, however, before the English pottery figure became popular, and then it was the mass-produced moulded type rather than individual figures made by professional modellers.

Physical description

Salt glazed stoneware bust depicting John Dwight

Place of Origin

Fulham (made)

Date

1673-1675 (made)

Artist/maker

John Dwight's Fulham Pottery (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Salt-glazed stoneware, with hand-modelling

Dimensions

Height: 18.2 cm, Width: 17 cm, Depth: 10.3 cm

Object history note

Part of the "Dwight Heirlooms" discovered at the factory about 1860. The bust has since been identified from documentary sources.

Descriptive line

Bust of John Dwight, made at Fulham by an unidentified modeller, about 1675.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X

Labels and date

British Galleries:
John Dwight, scholar and ceramic chemist, obtained a patent in 1672 for 'transparent Earthen Ware' and 'Stone ware vulgarly called Cologne ware'. His utilitarian wares quickly proved superior to those imported from Germany. The material could also be refined for figure modelling, as here. [25/03/2003]
Bust depicting John Dwight
Made at the factory of John Dwight, Fulham, England, about 1673-75
Salt-glazed stoneware

1053-1871

Part of the Dwight family heirlooms discovered at the Fulham Pottery in 1861. The bust has since been identified from documentary sources. [23/05/2008]

Materials

Stoneware; Salt glaze

Categories

Stoneware; Ceramics; British Galleries

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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