Coalport Bone China


John Rose

The Early History of Coalport Bone China


The Founder of Coalport: John Rose 1772 - 1841


Coalport Bone China had its beginnings as far back as 1795 when John Rose founded the Coalport Company at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire. This enterprising and very practical man had been making pottery in Jackfield, very near to Coalportbrookdale since 1780.

He soon became a very successful man and was, over the years able to buy, with his Business Partner Edward Blakeway, several porcelain factories. Caughley in 1797 (which continued producing china until 1814) and Nantgarw and Swansea Porcelain Factories in 1820. In actual fact he did not purchase the Nantgarw and Swansea Factories to continue them as going concerns but for their equipment such as the moulds.

The home of Coalport Figurines, Coalbrookdale, was built beside the River Severn and apparently the porcelain produced there was named ‘Coalport’ because it was in the Coalbrook Dale area that canal boats on the newly built Canal (1792) transferred coal to the river vessels.

During the 1750’s the porcelain produced was of a soft-paste and the manufacturing process was very expensive but by 1976 Coalport had mastered the art of good quality hard-paste porcelain.  This was not anywhere near as expensive to produce as the soft-paste porcelain but it was of a grey-ish colour and the translucency was poor.  Nevertheless Coalport Products were of a higher quality than the soft-paste variety and the British public embraced it, so much so that in 1797 John Rose opened a Retail Warehouse in London.

It was around this time, (1798) that a form of bone china was introduced by Coalport, and during the second decade of the 1800’s they began producing the wonderful soft white translucent porcelain that Coalport is famous for today.

The Society of Arts awarded John Rose a gold medal for initiating an improved, lead-free glaze and his feldspar** porcelain.

During the 1830’s the pace of production was increasing significantly and to enable this to be maintained Rose introduced the technique of applying a light transfer printed blue outline as a guide for the painters thus allowing hand-painted decoration to continue despite the volume of work increasing.

Coalport were the first to introduce this but during the 19th Century other Porcelain Factories followed suite.

Sadly, in 1841 John Rose died at the age of 69. However his nephew, W.F. Rose and a William Pugh continued the business under its former name of ‘John Rose & Co.’ In which name it continued until the1880’s at which time the name ‘Coalport’ was again used and it became the ‘Coalport China Company’


**Feldspar is by far the most abundant group of minerals in the earth's crust, forming about 60% of terrestrial rocks.  Most deposits offer sodium feldspar as well as potassium feldspar and mixed feldspars.  Feldspars are primarily used in industrial applications for their alumina and alkali content.  The term feldspar encompasses a whole range of materials.  Most of the products we use on a daily basis are made with feldspar: glass for drinking, glass for protection, fiberglass for insulation, the floor tiles and shower basins in our bathrooms, and the tableware from which we eat.  Feldspar is part of our daily life.

In the manufacture of ceramics, feldspar is the second most important ingredient after clay.  Feldspar does not have a strict melting point, since it melts gradually over a range of temperatures.  This greatly facilitates the melting of quartz and clays and, through appropriate mixing, allows modulations of this important step of ceramic making.  Feldspars are used as fluxing agents to form a glassy phase at low temperatures and as a source of alkalies and alumina in glazes.  They improve the strength, toughness, and durability of the ceramic body, and cement the crystalline phase of other ingredients, softening, melting and wetting other batch constituents."

Attributed to: North American Industrial Minerals Association

Here is an example of a Beautiful Coalport Bone China Figurine.

Coalport Bone China