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Free entry to Blenheim Palace grounds for art and antiques fair

— April 2015

Associated media

Examples of slipware from John Howard, to be on show at Blenheim this week

The Cotswolds Art and Antique Dealers Association Fair returns to Blenheim Palace, Woodstock Nr. Oxford from Thursday 16 April until Sunday 19.

For this, its fourth year, 30 exhibitors will bring wonderful quality art and antiques to the fair, which is becoming well-established.

The charm of the Fair is the unique opportunity to locate exceptional quality pieces from a wide variety of dealers based in the UK, several of whom do business internationally

The setting for the Fair, at Blenheim Palace,  is unique, a perfect setting to experience the best fine art and antiques. One of the exhibitors is John Howard, who among other things will be selling some old British slipware. He supplied the following information about slipware.

Slipware is one of the earliest forms of pottery produced in the British Isles, dating back to medieval times. The 17th century was perhaps the most significant time in which more sophisticated and artistic techniques were employed. Two major potters of this period were Toft and Simpson, whose fabulous dishes grace serious collections and are represented in museums, especially in the UK and USA.

Potters use the term ‘Slip’ for a mixture of clay and water, consistency can vary but generally resembles a thick double cream. This slip can be trailed (e.g. with a pipette) onto the earthenware body and used in various ways to decorate, such as the ‘combed’ pattern with different colour slips for extra effect.

A lead glaze was used only on the inside of the dish. Interestingly many of the dishes were fired in the kiln in pairs, an upper and lower dish. The bottom dish in the kiln usually shows sign of the lead glaze shrinking a little from the border where gravity played its role.

Applying the trailing slip in a free form style took much skill and artistic flair with its calligraphic style. Not surprisingly this ware is appreciated by the Japanese who respect and understand this flowing spontaneous art work with its striking decorative appeal.

The main areas of slipware production in the 18th century were Staffordshire, London, Sussex and Wales. Many provincial potteries in the United Kingdom also produced the ware.

Visit John Howard's stand at Blenheim to see examples of these interesting and unexpected British ceramics

Click here for complimentary entrance to the Fair and to the stunning grounds of Blenheim Palace.


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