Vessels: Basin, bowl, plate, platter and tureen

Ironstone is a type of refined earthenware exhibiting a white, hard, almost vitrified paste, with a white thick glasslike glaze. Ironstone can often be characterized by having a network of very fine crazing appearing underneath the glassy surface. The background colour is white but tends to look blueish grey.

Ironstone is often undecorated but may also exhibit moulding or transfer printed scenes. Moulded motifs on ironstone include foliage, geometric paneling, agricultural motifs, and classic motifs that include Greek and Roman keys.  Agricultural motifs began in the 1860s and ‘Ceres’ (commonly known as wheatware) was one of the most common patterns. Different potteries would copy and slightly alter the more popular versions of the moulded motifs.

Ironstone was intended to appear like porcelain but at a fraction of its cost. It was a durable ware, popular in English North American colonies. By the 1840s, many potteries manufactured ironstone and by the 1850s it was the dominant ware until the end of the 19th century. By the 20th century it was primarily used by hotels and restaurants and for toilet wares. This ware was marketed under a variety of trade names, such as White Granite, Stone Granite, Opaque Porcelain, Pearl Ironstone China, and Improved Stone China, to name a few.



Jefferson Pattern Park and Museum, Diagnostic Artifacts of Maryland 2002:

Godden, Geoffrey A. (1999). Godden’s Guide to Ironstone Stone and Granite Wares. Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Miller, George (1991). A revised set of CC index Values for Classification and Economic Scaling of English Ceramics form 1878-1880. Historical Archaeology 25(1): 1-15.

Sussman, Lynne (1985). The Wheat Pattern: An Illustrated Survey. Parks Canada, Ottawa.

Wetherbee, Jean. 1996. White Ironstone; A Collector’s Guide. Antique Trader Books, Dubuque, Iowa.