John Dwight

(c. 1634—1703) chemist and potter

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John S. Dwight (1813—1893)


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(bc. 1635; bur Fulham [now in London], 13 Oct 1703). English potter. He was employed by the natural philosopher and chemist Robert Boyle in Oxford in the 1650s, and from 1661 held secretarial and legal appointments under three bishops of Chester. In 1670-71, when living at Wigan, he concluded that ‘he had ye secret of making china ware’. He applied for and was granted a patent on 17 April 1672 for making ‘transparent Earthen Ware’ and ‘stone ware’ and moved to London, setting up a pottery in Fulham. By March 1676 the production of stoneware bottles after the Rhenish bellarmines, mugs and similar vessels (including Tiger Ware) was sufficiently established for Dwight to negotiate a sales agreement with the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London, who held the London monopoly of the sale of both glassware and stoneware. In June 1684 Dwight obtained a second patent restating his original claims and supplemented with additional ‘inventions’, including ‘opacous redd and darke coloured Porcellane’. Dwight's production of so-called ‘porcellane’ appears to have been limited to a number of extremely fine, white, salt-glazed stoneware busts and figures, as in the stoneware bust of Prince Rupert (c. 1675; London, BM), the result of experimental work c. 1673-5. Production of brown stoneware, however, continued at Fulham Pottery for more than 200 years.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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