Royal Worcester Thimbles

Porcelain mania ruled amongst the royalty, aristocracy and landed classes of Europe in the early 18th century and the race was on to discover the secret formula that enabled the Chinese to monopolise this burgeoning market. It is said that the Meissen factory in Germany was the first to produce a product of comparable quality but it was not long before others, by fair means and foul, followed hot on their heels and began to offer their own porcelain wares. Notable among these was what was to become the Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory in Worcester, England.

Not all the creations produced by Worcester and others were as exotic or flamboyant as those favoured by the wealthy who vied with each other over the size, value and novelty of their collections. Less expensive items were aimed at those seeking a small gift or souvenir of which hand-decorated thimbles were a popular example.

Today, porcelain thimbles remain popular with collectors and a number of examples are featured in the following pages. Several of those from the Worcester factory are the work of William Powell. Those signed by him are especially sought after. Examples from the wider range of wares produced by Worcester can be viewed at the Porcelain Museum in Worcester on the site of the original factory.

Powell's signature can just be seen on the right-hand side of this beautiful puce mark, hand-painted example showing a swallow in flight.

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