Herculaneum


A full account of the Herculaneum pottery on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool has been written by Hyland (2005). It was founded in 1796 by a businessman, Samuel Worthington, who employed potters and managers from Staffordshire. The main products over a long period until closure in 1840 were transfer decorated pottery table wares. But, from about 1800 until the early 1830s porcelain was also made at Herculaneum and was an important part of their productions from 1800 to about 1821. The teawares were rather conservative in shape starting with the 'silver shape' teapot and teabowls and moving on to oval shapes with bute cups. While London shaped cups were made, London shaped teapots have not been found. Most Herculaneum wares can be recognised by their very characteristic handle or knob shapes. Herculaneum pattern numbers found on larger pieces reach to about 1500.


Herculaneum bute cups and coffee cans have ring or loop handles. Early bute cups in sets with 'old oval' shaped teapots had ring handles. Later cups had distinctive loop handles with a small or very small thumbrest and a single kink lower down (see Berthoud, 1990). All bute cups have an even wall thickness and a distinct corner inside between the wall and the flat bottom.

Ring handles look most like the number 9, and are quite flattened in section. The ring has a distinct groove around its base. 

Herculaneum cup with a 9 shaped  "ring" handle. Lower attachment bluntly pointed. Even wall thickness and flat bottom inside cup.Gilt swags decoration. (aj680, h57.8, w82.8, b36.9 (42.1), handle: v15.4, h15, w7.8, 6.1, t4.1)
Herculaneum coffee can with a 9 shaped  "ring" handle. Lower attachment bluntly pointed. Gilt swags decoration. No marks. (aj693, h67.9, w64.9, b56.2 (63.8), handle: v15.5, h15, w7.2, 6, t4)  
A cup with a 9 shaped  "ring" handle. No mark. Translucent body with blueish glaze. Possibly Herculaneum. (aj247 h56.4, w82.7, b41 (46.6), handle: v15.4, h14.4, w7.4, 5.4, t3.8)

Loop handles  have a down pointing thumb rest. Type 1 has a single very gentle kick and a slightly out-turned, rounded, bottom attachment. Type 2 handles are more like  Spode's but with a small thumb rest. 

Herculaneum cup with a "loop" handle of type 1. Upper attachment rounded. Even wall thickness. Blue transfer Broseley pattern with gilt border. (aj110, h56, w83.2, b37.4, handle: v31.8, h15.4, w8.4, 5) 
Herculaneum cup with a "loop" handle of type 1. Upper attachment rounded. Even wall thickness and slightly domed bottom inside cup.Black bat print of country house with gilt lines (ribbed around rim). (aj662, h60.5, w83.2, b37.5 (42.2), handle: v32.3, h17.3 (21.5), w8.5, 5.4) Bought in New Bedford, Rhode Island, USA.
Herculaneum coffee can with a "loop" handle of type 1. Upper attachment rounded. (a128 )   
Herculaneum cup with a "loop" handle of type 2. Upper attachment rounded. Even wall thickness and flat bottom inside. (aj449, h57.3, w85.5, b36.7 (41.6), handle: v25.5, h13.1 (18), w8.6, 7.2, t5.2) 

References  

Berthoud, M (1990) "A Compendium of British Cups", Micawber Publications, Bridgnorth. Hyland, P (2005) "The Herculaneum Pottery" Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

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