The products made at Nantgarw China Works were primarily high-end tableware, bowls, urns, specimen plates cabinet cups and other decorative items. Some of the porcelain made was decorated and gilded on site, most notably by Henry Pardoe and his son William Henry. A small amount of work was also decorated by William Billingsley and his family but significant quantities of the finest of the porcelain were biscuit fired then shipped by canal to Cardiff and on to London where it was decorated by the finest porcelain decorators of the day.
Both ‘London decorated’ and ‘Nantgarw decorated’ pieces are now very collectible; individual plates can change hands for tens of thousands of pounds and the highest auction price for an individual piece of Nantgarw porcelain was for a Thomas Pardoe decorated Ice pail which fetched just under £80,000 when sold at a Bonhams Auction in 2009.
When we recreate the porcelain, we will be making a small number of beautiful ‘limited edition’ cabinet cups which will only be available to our Art Happens donors. These will reference original Nantgarw porcelain shapes and decoration - particularly the ‘griffin’ and ‘snake’s head’ handles.
We are also excited about being able to commission new work from leading contemporary makers, designers and sculptors and look at innovative ways the very special attributes and translucency of Nantgarw porcelain can be used in a contemporary context. The new work will primarily be made at Nantgarw and will make a significant contribution to the China Works' sustainability and keep alive the romance, skills, traditions and heritage of Nantgarw. We also hope to hold a major exhibition of this new work at Nantgarw in 2018/19 before touring the exhibition across the UK.
To make this project a reality, we need your help to unlock the 200-year-old secret recipe and restart porcelain production at Nantgarw.