Miles Mason


Bute cups and Hamilton flutes were produced  by Miles Mason. He is thought to have started making hard-paste porcelain ca 1800 in Lane Delph, Staffordshire at a pottery which was later called the Victoria Works. Quite soon he switched to bone-china as his standard body and in 1806 he took his son William into  partnership and moved to the Minerva Works. In 1811 they expanded into another works in Lane Delph which had been used by Samuel Bagnall. The partnership continued until 1813 when Miles Mason retired and his other two sons, George and Charles, took over and concentrated on the newly developed Ironstone China (see Skinner and Young, 1992). 


Identification depends on very characteristic handle shapes where there is little possibility of confusion with other makers. Bute cups have:  loop handles with a small or flat-topped thumb rest, narrow loop handle with inner spur, "7" shaped handle, or "Bristol style" handle. Hamilton flute cups have a ring handle with flat thumb rest. All are finely potted with even wall thickness and are flat inside on the bottom  .  

 Blue transfer wares can have a pseudo Chinese seal mark (see below) sometimes alone, and sometimes with MILES above and MASON below. The seal mark is always enclosed in a single line border.  
Examples
Loop handle with thumb rest
Loop handles,  set near the top rim, with a flat-topped thumb rest on top.  Top attachment rounded, bottom pointed. Finely potted with even wall thickness and bottom flat inside .  

Miles Mason cup uncommon loop handle with small thumb rest. Top attachment rounded, bottom pointed. Finely potted in slightly creamy body with even wall thickness and flat bottom inside. (aj575  h60.7, w83.6, b38.3 (44.1), handle: v30.9, h14.3 (18.9), w8.6, 6.8, t5).
Miles Mason cup with a typical "loop" handle with a thumb-rest on the top. Top attachment rounded. No marks on base but this is patt. 433. (aj044, h57.8,w84.8, b42 handle: h16, v31, w9.2)
  Miles Mason cup with a typical "loop" handle with a thumb-rest on the top. Top attachment rounded. No marks on base. (aj084, h57, w82.3, b42.1 handle: h14.8, v30.9, w8.9)
  Miles Mason cup with a typical "loop" handle with a thumb-rest on the top. Top attachment rounded. No marks on base. (aj207, h57.2, w82.7, b37.6 (42.4)  handle: h14.6, v31, w8.9, 6.5)
Loop with small inner spur .
Rather narrow simple loop handles,  set near the top rim, with a small inner spur near the lower attachment.  Finely potted in bone china with even wall thickness and bottom flat inside .  

Miles Mason cup with a "loop" handle with a small inner spur.  Well  potted in translucent white body. Even wall thickness and flat inside bottom. Bat print decoration.  (aj300, h56.9, w86.2, b41.5 (46.5) handle:h11.6, v35.1, w8.2, 5.4) 
Miles Mason cup with a "loop" handle with a rather rounded and small inner spur.  Well  potted in translucent white body. Even wall thickness and flat inside bottom. Came with London shape teapot now in Norwich Castle Museum (see Plates 1503 - 1504 in Miller and Berthoud, 1985) (m026, h57, w83, b (39) ) Miller
Miles Mason cup with a "loop" handle with a small inner spur.  Well  potted in creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Inside has flat bottom with painted scene.  (aj105, h55.4, w85.1, b39.5 handle:h12.6, v35.1, w8.8, 5.9) 
Miles Mason cup with a "loop" handle with a small inner spur.  Well  potted in creamy body with finely crazed glaze. Inside has flat bottom.  (aj210, h57.9, w82.7, b41.4 (45.3)  handle:h12.2, v35.9, w8.0, 5.2) 
Loop handle with thumb rest and inner spur
  This shape is only made by  Miles Mason

Miles Mason cup with loop handle with thumb rest,  inner spur and additional mouldings. Embossed vine leaf pattern around outside. Hand painted bird's nest and flowers inside. Finely potted in white body with even wall thickness and flat bottom inside.   (c.f. pl 337 in Berthoud (1990)). (aj575  h60.7, w83.6, b38.3 (44.1), handle: v30.9, h14.3 (18.9), w8.6, 6.8, t5).
"7" shape handle
  "7" shape handles in a very distinctive shape were made by Miles Mason

Miles Mason breakfast cup with "7" shape handle with broadly pointed upper and pointed lower attachment. Finely potted in creamy body with even wall thickness and flat bottom inside. Hand coloured black transfer. (aj174 h67.8, w103.3, b51, handle: v37.2, h14, w10.3, 8
Miles Mason cup with "7" shape handle with broadly pointed upper and lower attachment. Finely potted in white body with even wall thickness and flat bottom inside. Scalloped edge with 24 gentle flutes. Blue seal mark (see right h5.8mm) endorses Miles Mason identification (c.f. pl 417 in Berthoud (1990)). (aj103  h56.9, w83.2, b41.3, handle: v32.4, h15.2, w11.2, 8).
Cups with clear "seal" marks
Two different cup shapes both decorated with a"Broseley" temple pattern blue transfer and both with typical Miles Mason pseudo Chinese seal marks. In each case the mark was smaller on the cup than on the saucer.

Miles Mason poringer shaped cup with a typical ring handle with a thumb-rest on the top. Bottom attachment pointed.Bone china body. Pseudo Chinese seal mark on base of both cup (h5.3mm) and saucer (h6.9mm; see right). (aj630, h52.8, w82.6, b39.6 (46.7) handle: h15.3, v16.8, w6.9, 5.5, t3.2)
Miles Mason coffee cup with a typical "loop" handle with a thumb-rest on the top. Top attachment rounded, bottom attachment pointed. Pseudo Chinese seal mark (h5.9mm) like aj103 (above), very clear on saucer (h10.4mm; see right). (aj222, h65, w67.2, b40.3 (47.7) handle: h15.8, v35.4, w9.0,  6.4)
Hamilton Flute with ring handle with thumb rest
Ring handle with thumb rest.  20 flutes. The examples below differ in both their handles and body. 

A cup with a ring handle with a spur. 20 flutes.  Potted in  whitish body. Foot recess with bevelled edges. Inside bottom has slight corners. Probably Miles Mason  (aj031, h61.7, w78.8, b35.5  handle: h13.7, v17.3,  w8.1, 6.9, t4.0)
A cup with a ring handle with a spur. 20 flutes.  Potted in  whitish body.  Probably Miles Mason  (m033, h63, w78, b(39) ) Miller
A cup with a ring handle with a spur. 20 flutes.  Potted in  an opaque body body with stained and finely crazed glaze. Foot recess deep (4.4mm) with vertical edges. Inside bottom has slight corners.  Probably Miles Mason pattern 129  (aj203, h63.5, w79.7, b37  handle: h15.1, v19.4,  w9.3, 7.7, t3.4)

References  

Skinner, DS and Young, V (1992) "Miles Mason Porcelain a guide to patterns and shapes" City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

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