Miles Mason's Porcelain

This ceramic collection traces the involvement of Miles Mason, the founder of Mason's Ironstone China, and his successors, in the production of ceramics in Staffordshire.

Miles Mason (1752-1822) married an heiress; the daughter of Richard Farrar who had established a successful retail business selling imported Oriental porcelain at 131, Fenchurch St. London. Mason continued this business, but after 1791, when the East India Company ceased the bulk importation of Oriental porcelain, he began to manufacture his own wares.

miles and ruth mason
Miles and Ruth Mason with their children. Oil on canvas artist unkown. Circa 1795.
Private collection.
Copyright © 2005 Keele University.
All rights reserved.

Three short-lived partnerships followed, firstly around 1796-7 retailing ceramics with Green & Limpus in London, secondly manufacturing porcelain with Wolfe & Lucock in Liverpool and finally with Wolfe's brother George making pottery at Lane Delph (Fenton) in Staffordshire. The ceramic ventures were terminated in 1800 and by 1802 Mason had relinquished his retail business.

About 1800 Miles Mason began porcelain production on his own account at works in Lane Delph. A greyish hybrid hard-paste porcelain body was produced emulating the Oriental ceramics, which he had originally retailed so successfully. Miles Mason also utilised the newly discovered white bone china as his standard body during the early 1800's.

Mason focused porcelain production on tea, coffee and dessert services in these early years. Many services were transfer printed in underglaze blue with patterns in the Oriental style such as 'Broseley Willow' which was enhanced with a variety of gilded patterns. Overglaze enamel bat printing was also popular.

Some fashionable shapes were based on contemporary silver. Mason rivaled his competitors by producing finely potted wares with elegantly hand-enameled designs.

You can view the factory mark of Miles Mason on the Mason's Marks page.