The Nantgawr Chinaworks Museum of South Wales proudly states that “the finest porcelain in the world” was produced at the Nantgawr factory by William Billingsely, but that, due to financial difficulties, it was only made between the years 1813-14 and 1817-1820. Part of these difficulties was due to Billingsley’s secret formula for his porcelain, which added glass frits and ground bone to the base clay. It turned out that his was in fact a recipe for financial disaster, as 90 percent of the pieces never made it out of the kilns in one piece! These facts account for its rarity and desirability for collectors of antique porcelain.
This precious inkpot, although just fitting in the palm of one’s hand, displays the tell-tale artistry of William Billingsley; his famous roses. It so pretty that “beautiful” doesn’t do it justice. I was just smitten by this outrageous small piece of porcelain that dates back to around 1820.
There are three sets of double roses from a single stem with a large pink rosebud protruding from each set. Even the leaves of the rose stems have great detail in their depictions. Adding to its delightfulness are six butterflies flitting around between the larger pink blossoms. The butterflies add a note of frivolity to the already enchanting piece.
There is a gilded line along the bottom edge as well as small amount of gilding along the top edge.
The condition is superb, especially considering that this pot is approximately 200 years old. It was obviously well cared for. The gilding on the top is somewhat worn. Although not signed, it has all the earmarks of Nantgawr porcelain in the brilliance of its white porcelain and the inspired painting of roses.
This is a wonderful piece of Nantgawr pottery. It came from the prestigious collection of antiques, especially porcelain, of the late Noel Howard. Howard was a motion picture assistant director and writer, perhaps best known for his work on “Lawrence of Arabia.” His collection was sold at Christie’s London in the last century.
It measures 2-5/8 inches in diameter at its widest point and 1-5/8 inches high.
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