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Slipware (Shire Library) Paperback – July 21, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Barker is Keeper of Archaeology at the City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, which houses one of the world's greatest collections of ceramics. He specialises in the archaeological study of Staffordshire ceramics and is responsible for a large collection of excavated pottery from Stoke-on-Trent. He has published many papers and reports on the subject, together with the critically acclaimed book William Greatbatch - a Staffordshire Potter.
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Product Details

  • Series: Shire Library (Book 297)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Shire Publications (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747802211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747802211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,784,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This tiny book, barely over 30 pages, gives a good basic overview of English slipware. From its migration to England from Holland and Germany in the 16th century, to its arguable peak in Staffordshire in the 17th Century, to its 19th century decline in the industrial era and eventual revitilzation in response to industrialization in the 20th century, this book covers it all. An introductory section even briefly describes the different methods of applying slipware such as trailing, feathering, joggling and sgraffito. That many historical potters unwittingly used easily inhaled and poisonous powdered lead glazes will probably cause shudders in modern readers.

The height of slipware seemed to fall in the 17th century when even the not so well to do likely purchased slipware pieces for decoration or for use on special occassions. Many pieces are elaborate for their time and emanate an addictive, fun folk-arty appeal. Some even included witticisms, such as "The best is not too good for you," which may make such pieces the social ancestors of today's mass-produced "joke mugs." The rise of that same mass production in the 18th century rendered handmade slipware less profitable. But a few centuries later it also stimulated the curiosity of potters such as Bernard Leach in recreating pre-industrial techniques, which helped spur the modern art pottery movement that still flourishes.

Staffordshire produced some of the most popular slipware with names such as Thomas Toft, Ralph Toft, Ralph Simpson, William Taylor and others emblazoned on pottery in prominent thick slip. These expressive, often cartoonish or whimsical pieces have an ineffably rustic yet sophisticated quality that remains intriguing even today.
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