Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mason's Ironstone (made with Cornish Clay)

I spent quite a bit of time in England (mainly Cornwall) over the last 4 yrs.
You cannot go to Cornwall (esp. St. Austell) without seeing the huge impact Cornish Clay had on this village. If you were born from the 1920's to 1930's in this area, your husband would have worked in the industry in some way or another his entire life. (I will write more on this in an upcoming post)
Charles James Mason patented the famous 'PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA' in 1813
The Mason patterns and moulds this firm made were renamed 'Mason's Ironstone China Ltd' in 1968.
In 1800-13 Mason PATENT IRONSTONE CHINA impressed it's mark in various forms with the name 'MASON'S'.
Mason used a mixture of Cornwall clay, ironstone slag, flint and blue oxide of cobalt to produce a hard, opaque, bluish white pottery that had a smooth, glossy finish after glazing and firing. The earliest ironstone items were decorated, many with hand painted oriental designs or blue transfer patterns. (See
my butter dish above) (funnily enough purchased in the States not in the UK)

The landscape north of St. Austell and covering 25 square miles, is a long range of flat topped hills with occasional white conical peaks which gave the area its old nickname of the Cornish Alps. Until 1746 fine porcelain had been Chinese. But then William Cookworthy found china clay near Helston. The main area mined is north of St. Austell. As you drive through you get only glimpses, the heart of the clay fields and then onto the Charlestowne Harbour, where
they exported the china clay but now a holiday maker's town known for its tall ships and Shipwreck Museum.(Where Aunt Doris lived)(Her husband worked there 33 yrs)(also home to one of my favorite pubs) Now clay is shipped from terminals at Par and Fowey (my favorite village in the whole of Cornwall)
Above are photos of:
My Mason Butter Dish
Cornish Clay Hills


  1. Oh my, this dish is exquisite. Love the beautiful pattern and colors. Stunning landscape picture too. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  2. This is so interesting and I look forward to hearing more about Mason. I have a plate, salad size, in Mason's that has a floral motif very much like the one on your dish, only no green trim. It belonged to a great aunt and I use a plate hanger and hang it on the wall.
    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Hi Kate,
    You're in Charleston? I love it there, and we plan to move there when we retire. Well, probably Isle of Palms. But we are an hour and a half away. You took some beautiful picures. Can't wait to see what you find out about Amelia.
    Thanks for coming by and following.

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Could you send me over the link to that beverage jar? I love it! :) Have a great week!