For the first time in 200 years, William Billingsley's incredible porcelain is once again, being made at Nantgarw China Works. It hasn't been easy and we are still in the very early stages, but we have succeeded in recreating the porcelain body, slip casting cabinet cups from it and firing them with very little slumping or deformation. The porcelain is intensely white, fine grained and just as incredibly translucent as the original.
Analysis of the porcelain has shown it to be virtually identical to the original, minor differences being easily accounted for by different sources and purity for some ingredients (notably kaolin).
As a result, we are well on our way to finishing all the cabinet cups for the rewards but progress is painfully slow, largely due to the porcelain's lack of plasticity requiring extreme care when removing the ornate handles from the moulds. As no one in the world has any prior experience of working with a porcelain like this, we are learning as we go and have already developed some new innovative techniques which, to our knowledge, have never been used before.
The recent sub-zero temperatures have also made the slip increasingly difficult to work with.
We hope all the cabinet cups will be finished in time for Christmas but it is possible that some may have to wait until the New Year.
William Billingsley's greatest strengths was his desire to achieve perfection so we are doing our utmost to ensure the quality of these cabinet cups would meet with his approval.
If you are desperate for your cup, perhaps because it is planned as a Christmas present, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to prioritise your request.
Although the Nantgarw China Works museum is now closed until the New Year, we will be showing a small exhibition about the project running from January 3rd until the end of the month. We hope you will be able to visit.
Thank you again for helping us achieve this historic accomplishment!