Mason's is a renowned English pottery company with a long history of producing high-quality china and ceramics. The company, originally known as "Mason's Ironstone," was founded by Miles Mason in 1813. Mason was a Staffordshire pottery merchant, and he played a pivotal role in the development and popularisation of ironstone china, a type of ceramic known for its durability and affordability. Many Masons china patterns are well collected and retain their characteristic rich colours.
Mason's is particularly famous for its transferware patterns, a technique where a design is engraved onto a copper plate, inked, and then transferred onto the ceramic surface. This process allowed for intricate and detailed designs to be reproduced efficiently. Some of the most popular and iconic Mason's patterns include "Mandarin," "Vista," and "Regency."
Here are some key characteristics and historical points about Mason's china:
- Transferware: Mason's is celebrated for its skillful use of transfer printing to create elaborate and colorful designs. Many of their patterns depict scenes, landscapes, and floral motifs, often inspired by Chinese and Asian art, which were highly fashionable during the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Ironstone: Mason's was instrumental in promoting ironstone china, which was valued for its sturdiness, making it suitable for everyday use. This material helped to democratize the enjoyment of fine china by making it more affordable and accessible to a broader range of consumers.
- Varieties and Patterns: Mason's produced a wide range of patterns over the years, including some limited-edition and collectible series. Each pattern often had multiple color variations, adding to the diversity of their offerings.
- Collectibility: Mason's china, especially older and rarer pieces, is highly sought after by collectors. Vintage Mason's china can be found in antique shops, auctions, and online marketplaces, and the value can vary depending on factors like rarity, age, and condition.
- Heritage: The Mason's company changed hands and underwent various mergers and acquisitions over the years. As a result, the Mason's brand evolved, and different backstamps and marks were used to distinguish the eras of production.
For collectors and enthusiasts, Mason's china remains a testament to the enduring legacy of English ceramic craftsmanship. It's valued not only for its beauty and design but also for its historical significance in the world of ceramics. Whether you're interested in collecting or simply appreciating the beauty of fine china, Mason's creations are certainly worth exploring.