Chamberlain Worcester


Chamberlain made Bute and Hamilton flute shaped cups and related coffe cans from some time in the early 1790s. We have great detail about this company because their records are preserved at the Worcester Porcelain Museum and Geoffrey Godden has used these records to write books about this firm (Godden, 1969, 1992). Robert Chamberlain, the founder, was born in 1737 and died in 1798. He was one of the first apprentices at Dr Wall's Worcester Porcelain factory and by the 1770s it is likely that he was overseeing decoration and gilding of Worcester Porcelain. His son Humphrey was born in 1762 and joined his father at the Worcester factory but after John Flight bought the factory in 1783, the Chamberlains left and set up a decorating establishment of their own. In the early years they decorated Worcester Porcelain, but by 1788 their account books show that they were decorating porcelain for Thomas Turner at Caughley. Finally, by 1793 the factory inventory lists items like: throwing wheels, lathe, models and shapes and stocks of clay and Cornish Stone (needed to make porcelain). This indicates that by 1791 or 1792 they had started to produce their own porcelain wares. The reputation of the company increased rapidly. In 1796 they made a dessert service for the Prince of Orange, in 1802 were visted by Lord Nelson who placed a large order, and in 1807 the Prince of Wales came, placed orders and allowed them to style themselves: "Porcelain Manufacturers to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales". Under later generations of Chamberlains the company flourished on into the 19th centuary joining with the original Worcester Porcelain company in the 1840s. 

Examples of Bute cups

. Most Chamberlain Bute cups have a large round ring handle set quite close to the rim. The triangle under the ring has a shorter side next to the ring while in Grainger cups the two sides of the triangle formed by the handle are nearly equal. Chamberlain also made Spode-type handles and Loop handles with inner spur.

Pattern numbers: the Chamberlain records contain a descriptive list of shapes and patterns with prices. If available, these are given in quotes below. There is also a list to help date pattern numbers.

Spode-type handles
Loop handle related to Spode but stronger kick. Top attachment rather square, bottom attachment rounded. Cup is flat inside bottom. This is the earliest handle shape found on Chamberlain bute cups.

Chamberlain cup with a "loop" handle of theSpode type but with rather square top attachment. Pattern No 182 in gilt on base: "Shankered or Bute enamelled blue, green and goldsprigs [roses]". Sprig and flowers inside on flat bottom. c1790s. (aj081, h58.5, w88.1, b39.9, handle: v31, h17.4, w9.2)
Chamberlain cup with an unusual "loop" handle with a slight "kick" of the  Spode type. It has a rather square top and rounded bottom attachment. Pattern No 182 in gilt on base. Sprig and flowers inside on flat bottom.  (aj282, h62.3, w78.9, b39.2, handle: v38, h17.3, w10.5, 7.8, t4.4)
A cup with a "loop" handle of the Spode type but with rather square top attachment. Royal Lily blue transfer pattern. Small transfer on flat  inside on bottom. Probably Chamberlain Worcester c1800. (aj272, h57.8, w86.1, b41.2, handle: v30.2, h17.4, w9.8, 6.7, t4.9)
Chamberlain cup with a "loop" handle of the Spode type. c1790s. Probably pattern 13 "Blossom" (see fig. 58 in Godden, 1992). (m031, h58, w86, b(46) ) Miller
Chamberlain coffee cup with a "loop" handle of the Spode type. Solid potting. c1790s. Probably pattern 13 "Blossom". (m029, h64, w68, b(36) ) Miller
Ring handles
Large round ring handle, clearly flattened in section, and set near the top rim.   The triangle under the ring more flattened against the cup than Grainger and with its upper side shorter than the lower side.

Chamberlain cup with a large "ring" handle slightly flattened in section. This cup has no mark but it matches a Chamberlain Worcester shape teapot patt. 351. (aj338, h61.4, w84, b37.8 (45.2), handle: v19, h18.7, w7.1, 5, t4)
Chamberlain cup with a large "ring" handle slightly flattened in section. This cup has no mark but it matches a Chamberlain Worcester shape teapot patt. 351. (aj014, h60.5, w83.6, b39, handle: v19.5, h18.5, w7)
Chamberlain cup with a large "ring" handle (slightly flattened in section). There is no mark but may be patt. 414 "Bute, Strawberry in red and gold ground" (1805-10). (ja1, h60.8, w82, b38.8, handle: v19.3, h19.1, w7.5) Wilsons
Chamberlain cup with a large "ring" handle (slightly flattened in section). Marked with  pattern number 460 (2mm in puce) "Red husk and slight gold leaves" (1805-10). (aj530, h61.2, w82.3, b38.8 (45.7), handle: v19.4, h18.5, w7.5, 5.2, t3.5) 
A cup with a large "ring" handle of the Chamberlain Worcester type (slightly flattened in section).  Probably Chamberlain Worcester. (aj102, h60.2, w82.6, b38.8, handle: v19.4, h18.3, w7.7, 5.2) 
Hamilton flute
Large ring handle, flattened in section with shallow triangle where it meets the cup wall. Side of triangle next to ring shorter than other sides. 18 flutes. Even wall thickness.  Bluish body with straw transparency. 

Chamberlain cup with a large ring handle with pointed lower attachment. 18 flutes.  Finely potted in  bluish body with straw transparency. Foot recess  with bevelled edges. Marked with unclear 385 in gilt. In Chamberlain records this pattern is: "Hambleton blue and gold border". (aj202, h60.3, w83.4, b38.8 handle: h19.4, v19.2,  w7.2, 4.7, t4.3)
Chamberlain breakfast cup with a large ring handle with pointed lower attachment. 18 flutes.  Finely potted in  bluish body with poor transparency. Foot recess  with bevelled edges. Marked with 385 in puce (ht 2.6mm). In Chamberlain records this pattern is: "Hambleton blue and gold border". (aj623, h64, w95.7, b48 (55) handle: h19.3, v19.9,  w8, 4.9, t4.1)
Loop handle with inner spur
 Even wall thickness.  Bluish body with straw transparency. 

A cup with a loop handle with inner spur.  Possibly ? Chamberlain Worcester  (m006,  w84 )

Examples of coffee cans

Chamberlain coffee cans are often tapered but can also be straight sided. The earliest handle is a loop with dent, later cans have ring handles .


 Chamberlain Worcester tapered coffee can with loop handle with dent and broadly pointed attachments. Solid potting in blueish body with poor translucency. Gilding ribbed round rim and on handle. Foot wiped free of glaze. Gilt pattern number ?246 on base.Is this pattern 276: "Dejeuney, India, Thumb & finger pattern". (aj228, h64.2, w69.1, b43.8 (53.2) handle: h17.6 (21.7), v37.4, w8.6, 7.2 t4.7)
Chamberlain tapered can with a large and very wide ring handle with pointed lower attachment. 18 flutes.  Finely potted in  distinctly bluish body with gray transparency. Foot recess  with bevelled edges.Base with small painted 343: "Hambleton, blue & gold. G. Rogers". (aj360, h65, w68, b44.2 (53.5) handle: h17.8 (26.1), v19.3,  w9.7, 6.2, t4.2)
A coffee can with a large ring handle with pointed lower attachment. 16 flutes.  Finely potted in  bluish body with straw transparency. Foot recess  with bevelled edges. Possibly Chamberlain patt 406 " Bute, seaweed in red & gold" Worcester  (aj569, h59.8, w66, b54.1 (61) handle: h17, v18.6,  w6.6, 5.1, t3.9)
Dating early pattern numbers

 

Using references in the Chamberlain records (see: Godden, G A ,1992) we can list the first mentions of different pattern numbers and in this way get a rough indication of their date of origin:

1794 patt 34; 1796 patt 48, 66, 69; 1797 patt 75; 1799 patt 165; 1800 patt ~175; 1801 patt 203, 300; 1802 patt 200, 240; 1803 patt 276; (1805 patt 375 described as: "Bute Trafalgar with shipping.") 1806 patt 359; 1807 patt 342; 1809 patt 474 (ordered); 1813 patt 403; 1814 patt 700 (ordered); 1816 patt 765.

 

Using the pattern descriptions we can see the first mention of different cup shapes:

"Bute shape" patt 76; "Bute Hambleton flute" patt 314; "Hambleton" patt 343;

 
References

 

Godden, G A (1992) Chamberlain-Worcester Porcelain. Magna Books, Wigston.  

Godden, G A (1969) Caughley and Worcester Porcelains 1775-1800. Herbert Jenkins Ltd, London.


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