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Brief History of Ceramics

From Pre-historic times man has made and decorated pots and other tableware. Decorated Bots have been found from 4500BCE. Items made from clay – the basic ceramic raw material – have been around a long time. Early bowls were made by rolling the clay into a long rope and coiling to form the basic shape and then fashioned. Ceramic centres have been found in China, Greece, Persia, Japan and Korea.

Decorations on ancient china have varied as has the glazing used. Glazed bricks were found to date from 13000 BCE
Islam brought the art of painting on ceramics to Spain and Portugal and from there it spread to Northern Europe. Early examples were Delftware in Holland. Pottery was very important in Islamic art from the 8th Century AD

Early Chinese ceramic included Celadon and there is evidence of production from early times. Shards of pottery have been dated to 17,000 years ago.

In Japan early works are date to 11,000 BCE. Japan has a long history of production and is credited with the development of the potter’s wheel and high temperature kilns. Porcelain was first developed in Japan.

Rome and Greece both had important activities in Ceramics.   Highly decorative tin-glazed pottery or faience is thought to have originated in Iraq in the 9th Century AD, reaching Italy during the renaissance and Northern Europe around the 16th Century. Blue painting on a white ground was particularly successful in Holland from the 16th to the 18th Century. Tin glazes are still used in Studio work. Picasso used thisin his ceramic art.  The late 17th and 18TH Century developments of French and English fine china reduced the demand for Dutch product Porcelain was initially imported but the development of a hard-paste porcelain in Meissen in Germany in 1710 resulted in rapid growth of European production. Sevres became the centre of French soft-paste porcelain manufacture from 1756. In 1749 Spode took out a patent for a soft-paste porcelain in England and demand boomed with the emergence of a prosperous middle-class. Stoke on Trent became the foremost centre for production of bone-china from the 17th Century helped by the local clays and the proximity of coal supplies. Wedgwood emerged as a leading developer of pottery at this time. He developed unique glazes and is credited with the development of transfer printing, which from 1750 began to replace the largely hand-painting practices in the Industry Studio Pottery, china and Porcelain manufacture and decoration has become a major activity today all over the world. 


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