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William Duesbury

(1725—1786) china manufacturer


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(b ?Longton Hall, Staffs, 7 Sept 1725; d Derby, 30 Oct 1786). English porcelain manufacturer. He trained as an enameller, and between 1751 and 1753, in his decorating shop in London, he painted wares from Staffordshire and Derbyshire and porcelain from the factories of Bow and Chelsea. He spent a short time (1754-5) at the Longton Hall Porcelain Factory in Longton Hall before entering into a partnership on 1 January 1756 with John Heath, a Derby banker, and André Planché (c. 1727-1809), a French refugee, to manufacture porcelain. The factory, in Nottingham Road, Derby, was managed by Duesbury and traded as W. Duesbury & Co. In 1764 he was able to introduce the technique for successful over- and underglaze transfer-printing (e.g. transfer-printed mug, c. 1768; Derby, Mus. & A.G.), the details of which he learnt from Richard Holdship, a former partner of the Worcester Porcelain Co. (est. 1751) whom he had engaged as an employee. On 5 February 1770 Duesbury purchased the Chelsea porcelain factory and until 1784 ran both factories, this being known as the ‘Chelsea-Derby’ period. He also bought the bulk of the undecorated stock from the failed Longton Hall Porcelain Factory in 1770 for decorating at Derby. In 1773 he opened a showroom in Covent Garden, London, and in 1776 purchased the moulds and plant of the Bow Porcelain Factory. The Chelsea Porcelain Factory was closed in 1784, and much of the plant and some of the skilled craftsmen were transferred to Derby. By the time of his death, Duesbury had built up a world-famous porcelain factory, which he described as ‘a second Dresden’.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.


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