Asiatic Pheasants
19th Century Staffordshire Blue Transfer Printed Pottery




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Condition Terms


Refers to very fine cracks in the glaze not the body tends to occur frequently in Earthenware. The seal created by the glaze can be impaired by crazing allowing moisture in to the body of the ceramic and causing discolouration. Usually caused by the practise of keeping plates and dishes on the range to warm. Some manufacture is more prone to this than others.


If the seal created by the outer glaze is impaired either by crazing or from an incomplete seal created by the stilt marks during firing moisture will penetrate the porous ceramic body and stain it. It is almost impossible to completely remove discolouration but it can sometimes be be improved by careful cleaning.

Firing Cracks

Refer to cracks in the body of the item which occurred at the time of manufacture caused by poor working of the clay mix prior to firing. Air pockets create rents in the body during firing and are more common in slip moulded pieces where the join of two parts was not entirely successful. Thse sometimes only become apparent over time having been glazed over the weakness gradually appears on the joint.

Hairline Cracks

Very fine cracks in the body of an item which have come about after manufacture. Often caused by shrinkage at the biscuit stage of manufacture these can appear much later. More often caused by careless handling. A hairline crack need not get any larger if a piece is handled with care, but some people would be concerned with the hygeine implications if a piece was to be used.

Transfer Imperfections

The very fine transfers laid over the slip could often be torn or smudged whilst being placed. Occurs in manufacture of all quality and occasionally different borders can appear. Obviously these pieces are not of the first quality but, some imperfections can attract attention for their novelty value.

Glaze Imperfections

There are several glaze imperfections which can occur during manufacture. The final lead overglaze often does not cover the whole surface of the body, Footrim excepted, leaving the transfer and slip exposed. Careless glazing often left drips and excess glaze on the body, and sometimes air could be trapped causing popping during firing.
The mixing of the glaze could also be incomplete, and the solids left in the glaze solution sometimes pop during the firing leaving very small pits in the glaze surface. The most common glaze imperfection comes from thumb or fingerprints left by the worker at the time of glazing.

Stilt Marks

The sheer volume of production of Asiatic Pheasants meant that large numbers were fired at the same time. To allow the heat to pass across the body of each plate clay balls or stilts were placed between the items, and many of the plates lower in the stacks bear the three stilt marks in the glaze sometimes both on the face and underside of the plate. This is very common to earthenware and Asiatic Pheasants in particular.