Are you as enthusiastic about antique ironstone as I am? I’ve written a few posts on ironstone, and an article for a magazine a few years back. But since my recent ironstone ship has come in – yay!!- I’m adding pieces to the shop as fast as I can, you have been asking to know more about ironstone. Here are a few tips for shopping for ironstone.



tips for shopping for Ironstone





In this post, I wrote: “White Ironstone was originally potted in England  in the early 1800’s. The Ironstone blanks were decorated with colorful patterns and were an immediate success in England, it had lasting weight and strength, and became a very popular form of pottery. James Edwards (1805-1867) of the Dalehall Pottery in Staffordshire, William Turner of Longton, are amongst the potters credited as ironstone pioneers. Some sources also attribute the invention of ironstone to Josiah Spode who is known to have been producing ironstone ware by 1805, he exported immense quantities to France and other countries. The popularity of Spode’s ironstone actually surpassed the traditional faience pottery in France.”




antique ironstone





Ironstone pieces have such a classic, clean design, they literally complement every style of decor. They mix beautifully with any kind of table setting, and play nicely with other porcelain or faience dishes too.



A collection of quality antique ironstone adds history and decorative beauty to your home, and the pieces are still very usable! That is the best part of these strong white dishes, they can still be used every day or on holidays, they earn their keep.



tips for shopping for Ironstone



tips for shopping for Ironstone






Antique Ironstone comes in many shapes, and different forms.  I look for the beauty of the design, how lustrous the finish is, as well as how useful the piece is. {How I could use it not just for its intended purpose, but also as a decorative element at home.}



Antique ironstone has thickness and weight, its usually heavier than most other types of china.  Ironstone “glows” like nothing else. I can spot a piece of antique ironstone across aisles at fleamarkets. If you get familiar with antique ironstone, you will know it when you see it.



tips for shopping for Ironstone



tips for shopping for Ironstone




From the magazine article I wrote a few years ago:

1. Weight: Ironstone is thick and heavy.
2. Maker’s Mark: Most, but not all, ironstone is marked with a back stamp on the bottom that is printed, impressed, or both.
3. Color: Early English pieces made for export will have a blue or grey tint. Pieces that remained in England are creamier white, as are American ironstone pieces.
4. Shape: Date early ironstone by looking at patterns and shapes.



tips for shopping for Ironstone





It’s not uncommon to find pieces that aren’t marked.  Many piece are marked on the bottom with a manufacturer’s marking, and that will help you date your piece.



Other names used in markings for ironstone include graniteware, stoneware, pearl china, feldspar china, new stone, semi porcelain, opaque porcelain, and stone china, they are all considered ironstone these days.



tips for shopping for Ironstone




I’m not a purist, while I prefer that all the edges should be un-repaired and free of chips if possible, I have been know to fall head over heels in love with a piece that is stained, chipped and worn. What you will want to collect depends on what you fall in love with. Many collector’s focus on one kind, like tureens, or one maker for their collection.  I have collectors that buy from us at FrenchGardenHouse who only buy French or English ironstone, or only ironstone that is well “buttered” as my European friends say, which means that the piece has discolored over the centuries to a darker beige.



What you buy depends on you….and what fits your style of home decor.




antique ironstone bowl



I love the quirky details on this very heavy ironstone pot, the handles are like little faces.



tips for shopping for Ironstone



A favorite from my latest shipment from Europe, this antique ironstone foot bath has raised staves to simulate a barrel. The shape is so lovely, it is just as desirable today as it was in the late 1800’s, very early 1900’s.




antique white ironstone



I hope that this post has answered some of your questions, and gets you started on a collection of your own!



shop for ironstone



Ps. I’ll be adding the highly anticipated and coveted antique ironstone drainers to the shopsite this week.


To shop our latest ironstone click here >




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