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DRESDEN detail
One of the reserves on Carlton Ware's
2033 pattern.
Carlton Ware's DRESDEN pattern
12 February 2015. Expanded & edited February 2023.

Carlton Ware's pattern records tell us that one of the earliest designs by Horace Wain, circa 1913, was named
It gave the illusion of being an elaborate pattern in the rococo style, employing decorating techniques, most notably a Powder Blue ground, as used by Wain's former employers. At the beginning of the 20th century this ground colour had become fashionable again. On the right is a detail from the pattern, showing one of the reserves. Notice the gold printed insects, foliage and flowers on the blue background.

DRESDEN springs to mind today because the city is in the news.

Montage of pictures of Dresden before and after bombs
Top - Porcelain panel showing view of Dresden.
Middle - Allied forces firebombing Dresden in 1945.
Bottom - Dresden after the destruction.

Seventy years ago this week, the architectural gem, in the East of Germany, close to the Czech Republic, was heavily firebombed by the Allies.

It was at Dresden in 1709 that European porcelain was formulated. Many artists, who previously had been attracted to the royal capital, began to decorate the new ceramic in highly skilful ways.

Dresden, and indeed the nearby town of Meissen, is associated with the rococo style of porcelain characterized by a profusion of flowers, foliage, fruits, shells and scrolls, not only in pattern, but also in shape, as in the example below.

Covered vase made in Dresden

Examples of Carlton Ware's Dresden pattern
Two examples of Carlton Ware's DRESDEN 2033 pattern.
Notice that the shapes are Chinese in origin.
It is not surprising that Horace Wain was influenced by the 18th century German manufactory since he was keen on traditional patterns and shapes, as typified by his adoption of Chinese and Japanese styles such as his KANG-HSI, KIEN LUNG and CLOISONNE ranges of patterns.

Wain was also fond of the work of other long established porcelain and china manufacturers such as Worcester, Swansea, Lowestoft and Crown Derby.

Mix and Match
The fancy panels or reserves on the two examples of his DRESDEN 2033 pattern, shown right, are edged with elaborate hand gilt scrolls, befitting of the rococo style, though the shapes are Chinese in origin. Wain was not shy in creating hybrid designs even though sometimes they were incongruous. For example, the gold printed insects, foliage and flowers on the Powder Blue ground are copied from Chinese ceramics relating to the Kang-Hsi period 1644-1722!

Carlton Ware's DRESDEN pattern is cumbrous in comparison to the free-hand painted work of the German decorators.
Wain, however, is being innovative by experimenting with relatively new decorating techniques. Here he employs a slide on chromo-lithograph combining it with freehand painting and gilding. Chromo-lithographs were a recent introduction in the Staffordshire potteries. Wain will have known the suppliers of the chromo-lithograph, and may have been asked by them to see what he could achieve with the newly introduced transfer decorations.  The slide on transfers might have been of German origin, though locally there were an increasing number of specialist lithographic printers set up to supply the pottery industry.

Susie Cooper Dresden pattern
Susie Cooper's DRESDEN chromo-lithographic pattern introduced
in 1935 and as a stylized version of a typical Dresden motif.
Notice the compositional similarity with Horace Wain's traditional copy.

In 1935, some twenty or so years later, Susie Cooper pays her tribute to Dresden with a pattern of the same name, also using a chromo-lithograph, which had much improved. To the untrained eye it is very hard to tell that the decoration is not freehand painted.

Minton, Doulton and Crown Staffordshire also used the Dresden name and no doubt many others potteries. ❑

So highly regarded was the work carried out in Dresden that in the nineteenth century, a southern district of Stoke-on-Trent was named after the German city.  ❑

© Harvey Pettit 2015. Expanded & edited 2023.

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