China and Pottery Marks - A Reference Guide to Antique and Collectables, is a convenient resource for both the beginner and seasoned collector. It contains a representative list of better known marks that can help identify pottery and china from around the world. Although it is impossible to compile an exhaustive list, especially for the extremely rare specimens, this compilation includes a particular reference to the marks of English china which is quite popular and highly in demand among collectors. Such reference is enough to allow the reader to identify pieces whenever he encounters one.
The study of the “fabrique marks” and periods of the master craftsmen can provide a great deal of association and historic data. The characteristic signatures or marks, usually combinations of initials and dates, were stamped by earth or clay craftsmen on their products using specially designed devices of various kinds. Each “fabrique mark” stands for a certain potter’s art like the modern trademark, just as a painter signs his work. Fine china has been synonymous with culture and breeding as shown by the appreciation of the people in early days when they bury the fine pottery and old glassware with their dead - as considered among their “most esteemed possessions”. For generations, we share the tradition with our ancestors that old china or the finest works of the modern kilns express readily that good taste and discrimination that is characteristic of our old families – just as first editions give prestige to one’s book shelves. This is highlighted by Arthur Hayden in his “Chats on English Earthenware” where he points out that, “To have a modern set of vases adorning a Georgian cabinet is like putting new wine in old bottles.”
In America, the development of the appreciation of fine china started more than a half century ago and largely credited to the house of Gilman Collamore and Company, the old La Farge House located in lower Broadway where the great John La Farge was born. It was one of the first houses to bring over china from England and France china, both modern and old, for its American clients. At this time many fine specimens of old china are on view as well as complete stocks from the modern English and Continental manufacture.