William Henry Goss


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(b London, ?July 1833; d ?, 4 Jan 1906). English potter and manufacturer. He studied art and design in London and in 1857 was employed as a modeller by W. T. Copeland & Sons Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. In 1858 he set up a factory in partnership with a Mr Peake, producing a variety of high-quality Parian porcelain: jugs, vases, lidded jars, portrait busts and ‘jewelled’ porcelain. He had observed that the ‘jewelled’ pieces made at the Sèvres Porcelain Factory were often lacking their enamel ‘stones’ and he developed a method of securely counter-sinking these into the clay. He modelled many of the prototypes himself, and the factory made pierced and coloured floral jewellery, crosses, scent bottles and other small luxury items. He also invented a light, lustrous ware called ‘ivory porcelain’, which was adopted by the Belleek factory in Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland, and experimented with commercial glazes to produce brilliantly coloured pieces. In 1870 Goss established his own factory, the Falcon Works, at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where, from the 1880s until 1914, porcelain heraldic wares were manufactured: a multitude of such pieces as figures, urns, lighthouses and horseshoes were transfer-printed with the coats of arms of a British town or county. The heraldic porcelains were an overwhelming success, selling as keepsakes or souvenirs by the thousand (examples in Stoke-on-Trent, City Mus. & A.G.), and a Goss collectors’ club was founded c. 1904. During World War I the factory made models of tanks and zeppelins and pots bearing regimental badges. Production dwindled in the 1930s; the Goss works were absorbed by the Cauldon Potteries Ltd, Hanley, and closed down in 1940.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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