The Importance of Shards

Hi Everybody,

Today’s blog is about a ceramics sale at Chorley’s Auction House in Gloucester. The sale consisted of a collection of pottery from Henry Sandon, who you may have seen on Antiques Roadshow. He is their Worcester pottery specialist. The Worcester Pottery was founded in 1751 and concentrated on the production of fine porcelain. What was particularly interesting about the sale was that several of the lots consisted of ceramic shards and fragments of roman pottery. These are essentially broken bits of pottery that have been unearthed by archaeologists and reflect Henry Seldon’s passion for archaeology.

For archaeologists, ceramic shards can be a valuable aid in dating sites, learning about trade, how people travelled and understanding how peoples of the past lived. The thing is that if you ever watch any TV programmes on archaeology, you will see that they always dig up bits of pottery/shards. The reason for this is that ceramic is pretty much an indestructible material once fired and can last forever, which is why I ask my students to make the best work they can, because it may be dug up by future generations!

Another interesting lot in the sale was a plate commissioned for William Keith Kellogg – he of the breakfast cereal fame. The plate is decorated with a corn-like field to match the Kellogg’s logo.

Pottery sales are on every week at auction houses across the country and, along with their online catalogues, can give a concise history and insight into various aspects of pottery. Throughout the year I will occasionally blog about other sales I’ve attended, so until next time. Happy potting!

Barry