The Caughley Society holds two meetings a year, usually at the Coalport China Museum site, near Ironbridge in Shropshire, England, home of the national Caughley porcelain collection. The Spring meeting is normally held on the first Saturday in April (unless this coincides with the Easter holiday period), and the Autumn one on the first Saturday in October. Full details of each meeting are published on this website as soon as they are available. Other events are also organised.
Visitors are particularly welcome. To encourage younger people to take an interest, the Society now offers up to five free places at each of our meetings to people under the age of 25 studying in an appropriate field (for instance ceramics, design, fine art) at further and higher education establishments, museums, auctioneers and organisations such as the National Trust.
If you would like to attend one of our meetings, whether as a paying visitor or younger person, please send us an email by clicking on the 'Contact Us' button on the left of this page.
SPRING MEETING 2024
Saturday 6th April 2024
10.30am to 4.45pm
Coalport China Museum site
GARETH WILLIAMS: The Country Houses of Shropshire
Gareth Williams is Curator & Head of Learning to the Weston Park Foundation. He has written articles and scholarly papers for a number of publications and three books, including The Country Houses of Shropshire (Boydell Press, 2021). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and serves Shropshire as a Deputy Lieutenant.
Shropshire is Britain’s largest inland county and has an extraordinary wealth of country houses, many of them of national and international significance. From the medieval ancestor of leisured domestic architecture at Stokesay Castle to the Catholic glories of Mawley Hall and neo-classical Attingham Park, Shropshire holds extraordinary riches. This lavishly illustrated talk tells the human and built story of a selection of the homes, some of which will have been known to Thomas Turner.
NICK PANES: West Country Porcelains 1765-81
Nicholas Panes is a ceramics researcher and writer who has collected a wide range of English and Oriental ceramics over the three decades. A former Treasurer of the English Ceramic Circle, he has published two books and has also contributed papers to ECC and NCS on wide ranging subjects.
In 1766, a London silversmith and china maker, Nicholas Crisp, made the first substantive attempt to manufacture porcelain at Bovey Tracey in Devon. By 1768 this had failed and William Cookworthy started up the only factory in Britain using a Chinese hard paste recipe. This concern was moved to Bristol and into the hands of Richard Champion who came close to perfecting a superb porcelain body but whose dubious financial affairs never allowed it to be capitalized upon properly. All three concerns were short-lived but produced interesting and very high quality wares. This talk will illustrate the wares and recount some of the documentary history, both of the factories themselves and their proprietors.
DAVID BYRNE: Not just Sunken Treasures – The Geldermalsen, Shipwreck and Porcelain
A member of the Caughley Society, David Byrne worked as a jewellery consultant for auction houses and also did general valuation events including 18th century porcelain. Although now officially retired, he has written and continues to teach a three-day jewellery, diamond and gemstone identification and valuation workshop for the National Association of Jewellers.
The sale of the Nanking Cargo caused a collectors’ sensation, both during and after the sale at Christie’s in 1986. It comprised the salvaged cargo of mainly Chinese porcelains from the Dutch East Indiaman, the Geldermalsen, shipwrecked in 1752. David will be discussing the shipwreck and the porcelains found, and the wider influences this had on contemporary English porcelain. With a chance to look at and handle some of the pieces that were salvaged, this promises to be a fascinating talk.
Registered charity no 1137851