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FOCUS: Sunderland pottery - a


wearside tradition by Victoria Baker of http://www.littlewrenpottery.co.uk


The city of Sunderland was once renowned for its heavy industry, from coal mining to ship building having once been called “the largest shipbuilding town in the world”. These were highly skilled jobs despite the obvious dangers and alongside them worked craftspeople honing their trade and teaching apprentices.


During the nineteenth century, along the banks of the river Wear, Tyne and Tees there were 25 potteries. In Sunderland many potteries concentrated on making every day ‘brownware’ pottery and porcelain tableware. Eventually, Sunderland became well known for its distinctive Lustreware pots and Frog mugs which are now very collectable.


30 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2010


Lustreware Traditionally Lustreware is a porcelain pot with a metallic glaze that gives an opalescent look similar to mother of pearl. The glaze itself is transparent enhancing the whiteness of porcelain clay. Usually, it also has an underglaze of coloured slip or a decorative transfer. Typically Sunderland lustreware that was produced is pink in colour but can also be found in orange. Pink was largely chosen because it was a popular colour during the time of production in the 1800’s.


It’s speculated that Lustreware began in the Middle East with lustre pots being discovered in ancient Mesopotamia in the 9th century. It became popular in England when lustre pots were produced in Staffordshire and sold


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