Ornamental Ironstone


A superb Mason's campana vase, Patent Ironstone China. The landscape painting almost certainly by Samuel Bourne.
29.21cm high c.1815-25 The Raven Mason Collection. Copyright © 2005 Keele University. All rights reserved.


The sheer strength of the ironstone body enabled the Mason's factory to produce ornamental objects of considerable size.

Magnificent vases in the Italianate style, such as Neapolitan Ewers, were extremely costly. Large items were produced to decorate the hall and principal rooms of mansions. The range of ornamental pieces must have been legion; frequently they were often elaborately embossed and moulded.

Sadly, very little is known about the work people employed by Miles Mason and his successors. Probably the best recorded artist was Samuel Bourne (ca.1789-1865) reputed to have been apprenticed to Enoch Wood where he learnt the art of enamel painting.

It is possible that Bourne painted some of the landscapes known on Mason's wares. He was probably employed from about 1809. Regrettably his work is unsigned. Bourne continued to work for the Mason factory until approximately 1828 when he moved to Minton where he became chief designer and artist until 1863.

An auction catalogue for a sale held by Phillips at 11, Albermarle Street London, in June 1822 records:

"A noble vase, formed from the antique, beautifully painted in landscapes and figures by Bourne, and sumptuously gilt"

The vase had a reserve of £20 guineas (£21)