Coffee and Tea Set (1787)
A magnificent porcelain coffee and tea-set painted in purple monochrome with oval river landscapes containing figures/ The groundwork gilding forms scrolling foliage, tendrils and bands.
The pieces on display include a teapot, coffee pot, sucrier, milk jug, tea caddy, bowl, coffee cans and saucers. The five years between 1802-1808 remains somewhat of a mystery. It has been suggested that Billingsley spent his time experimenting with porcelain bodies and shards found on the site and a part tea set from the GRG Exley Loan Collection at the Usher Gallery support this. However this venture was a commercial failure and it is probable that Billingsley brought French ware ‘in the white’ for decorating in order to raise funds.
About the Artist
William Billingsley (1758-1828)
By the age of 16 William Billingsley was an apprentice porcelain painter at Derby China Works, where he developed skills in both flower painting and porcelain manufacture. His work became very popular in London and included a method known as the ‘wiping out process’, whereby the colour was flooded into the whole area to be painted; the high-lights being developed by repeatedly wiping away the colour with an almost dry brush, which made the colours softer and more natural.
In 1802 he moved to Brampton-in-Torksey in Lincolnshire where he lived with his two daughters for five years. Here he met Samual Walker for the first time, again painting white ware.