Nantgarw porcelain tests are underway and rewards update

08/11/2017

Great news!

Thanks to your support we are making excellent progress on understanding and recreating the incredible porcelain made at Nantgarw China Works during the early part of the 19th century.

We have now developed and tested our first frit which has been finely ground before being combined with china clay and other ingredients, then processed into a porcelain slip. After conditioning samples of this slip have been used to cast some simple test forms; these have been fired in our new test kiln. Other samples have been press moulded and fired.

The results so far have been extremely positive with the resultant biscuit being extremely white, fine-grained and very translucent. Some deformation of the form has been noticed under firing. Glazes have been applied and glost fired.While we still have extensive tests to complete and appreciate there are more challenges to come, initial signs are very encouraging and we believe this new porcelain exhibits all of the characteristics of that made by William Billingsley two hundred years ago.

Our newly commissioned moulds will be arriving shortly at which time we will commence casting, firing, glazing and decorating the cabinet cups offered as a reward for donors. For the first time in 200 years, a new Nantgarw China Works impressed stamp has been designed. This can be seen in the small 30mm test sample below which has been backlit to help show the porcelain’s translucency.

All the activity undertaken, with the exception of the final grinding of frit (outsourced to a specialist industrial partner), has been conducted onsite at Nantgarw China Works by the project team working in partnership with a number of specialists.

Meanwhile, our ‘shard’ pendants rewards are back from the assay office and look stunning. Each one has been handcrafted by Abergavenny jeweller Kimmi Davies and display signs of the production and firing problems William Billingsley faced at Nantgarw.

Sunday10 December will be an extraordinarily exciting day for the team as in addition to all your lovely rewards being delivered by then, we would like to extend an invitation for you to visit us for an ‘open day’. During the day we will share details of what we have accomplished on this project, provide tours of the China Works and give some demonstrations of slip casting and basic decoration. In the early afternoon there will be music and dancing from the famous band “Nantgarw” and of course mince pies and mulled wine.

Thank you again for your support.

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