19th century busts parian porcelain dating
Queen Victoria surrounded herself with marble statues of her children and commissioned a statue of her beloved Prince Albert attired, surprisingly, as a Roman.
And Americans often returned triumphantly from their Grand Tours of Europe with Parian statues that spoke eloquently of their Continentally acquired "culture."Potters made Parian statues by slip-casting.
Both English and American potters either obtained details of the original formula or worked out their own, resulting in enormous production of Parian wares on both sides of the Atlantic.
Plus the invention in 1844 of a patented machine that allowed scaled reproductions of larger bronze or marble originals made replicas of figures and busts by noted sculptors widely available.
During the 1870s and 1880s, as the Parian era flourished and faded, potters introduced tints into the medium.
Because the matte surface of the material attracted dirt, which was difficult to remove, makers protected much of the Parian made here and abroad with a smear glaze, achieved by chemicals added to the kiln in much the same way that they add salt to a kiln of stoneware.
The Copeland firm called it "statuary porcelain" because of its resemblance to the fine white marble of neoclassical sculpture.
Wedgwood named it "Carrara," after the Italian quarry patronized by Michelangelo.
Victorians welcomed Parians inexpensive, small-scale copies of busts of literary and political figures, as well as its decorative vases, boxes and pitchers, adorning their homes with these ornaments to show their gentility.
Christopher Webber Fenton and his brother-in-law Julius Norton first made Parian in America at their pottery in Bennington, Vermont.
Bennington had been a center for the production of utilitarian salt-glazed stoneware since the early part of the century, but Fenton and Norton seized the opportunity to expand their horizons that the developing mechanization of the ceramics industry offered.
Since biscuit was a very flat and cold porcelain, various firms and individuals attempted to find a warmer, creamier material, more like marble from which they could mold decorative items.
The official catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 gives Thomas Battam credit for inventing Parian, saying that "he succeeded in producing a very perfect imitation of marble, both in surface and in tint." While Battam may have invented it, several English factories claimed credit for its development.