A selection of ceramics through the ages (5 second delay) Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
PotWeb: Ceramics online
@ the Ashmolean Museum

People and their collections

Robert Plot 1640-96 - scientist & antiquary

Plot and pottery (3): clays used for potting in Staffordshire

In The Natural History of Stafford-shire (1686), Plot writes of the potting clays to be had throughout the county. He placed emphasis (p 122) on North Staffordshire:

'But the greatest Pottery they have in this County, is carryed on at Burslem near Newcastle under Lyme, where for making their severall sorts of Pots, they have as many different sorts of Clay, which they dig round about the Towne, all within half a miles distance, the best being found nearest the coale, and are distinguish't by their colours and uses as followeth.

1. Bottle clay, of a bright whitish streaked yellow colour.

2. Hard-fire clay of a duller whitish colour, and fuller intersperst with a dark yellow, which they use for their blackwares, being mixt with the

3. Red blending Clay, which is of a dirty red colour.

4. White-clay, so called it seems though of a blewish colour, and used for making yellow-colour'd ware, because yellow is the lightest colour they make any Ware of.

all which they call throwing clays, because they are of a closer texture, and will work on the wheel'.

North Staffordshire slipware and blackware from 'throwing clays'

North Staffordshire slipware and blackware from 'throwing clays'

Pottery manufacture in Burslem

Plot and pottery

The making of slip

Robert Plot: case study
© Copyright University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2005
The Ashmolean Museum retains the copyright of all materials
used here and in its Museum Web pages.
last updated: jcm/15-dec-2005