We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Collect English Porcelain?

By Laura Metz
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The three types of porcelain are hard paste, soft paste, and bone china. Although English potters make all three types, England is primarily known for its exquisite bone china. To collect English porcelain, you will need to learn how to identify and evaluate various pieces and also how to display them safely and beautifully.

Hard paste was first made centuries ago in ancient China from kaolin clay glazed with a solution made from feldspar. Dishes of hard paste are cold to touch. They rarely have scratches or food stains but are very easily broken or chipped. English potters began making hard paste porcelain in 1770.

European potters created soft paste porcelain around 1700 in an attempt to replicate hard paste porcelain imports from China. This type of porcelain is made from various combinations of white clay and pulverized glass. These pieces scratch easily and are warmer to the touch than hard paste.

Bone china was developed around 1800 by Josiah Spode II in Staffordshire, England, and it quickly became the porcelain most identified with England. Bone china is made with white clay, feldspar, and burned cattle bones. It does not break or chip as easily as the other types of porcelain. The easiest way to distinguish bone china from any other type is its translucent nature, and if it is held over a bright light, the light will shine through it.

The value of any piece of English porcelain depends on many factors, including its rarity and condition. Most porcelain features a potter’s mark. A collector can use that mark to learn who made the piece and the time period it was made. This information, along with various qualities such as the shape and decoration, help determine a piece’s age and rarity.

English porcelain is available in many places, such as antique shops, specialized dealers, and online databases, but collectors should always personally inspect every piece before buying. Defects, such as chips and age cracks, lower the value. Some pieces have been repaired using rivets, cement, or china filler. Although defects and repairs decrease the value, some collectors view them as signs of a piece’s history.

For many collectors, displaying their English porcelain in a safe manner is the primary purpose of collecting. A china cabinet is the most obvious choice. Having an entire collection together in one place can be a very powerful display, especially if the cabinet is properly lighted. A china cabinet’s glass doors protect china from dust, which is especially important for expensive pieces. Less common display techniques include placing the English porcelain on a wall, on top of cabinets, using as a candy dish on a coffee table, or displaying over an entryway.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.