The rise of bone china and its place at Original BTC

The rise of bone china and its place at Original BTC

As the company that pioneered the use of bone china in lighting, Original BTC has always had a penchant for this beautiful material. But where did it all begin?

Way back when…

Throughout history, almost every civilisation has used clay to create different forms of ceramic. Depending on the soil's content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours - from white to dull grey, and brown to deep orange-red and it is these geographical variations which influence the final product. As knowledge, skill sets, and experiments increased, so too did the differences in ceramics, leading to the categorisations of stoneware and earthenware. Eventually, it was discovered that when clay underwent a lengthy refinement process, it became porcelain.

With ceramics reaching the shores of Europe around the 14th century, many ideas, designs, and uses started to grow. The mid-15th century saw porcelain become a staple request of Europe’s wealthiest families and courts; and by the early 17th century, Chinese porcelain was imported into Europe in ever-increasing quantities. With imports now being known as china-ware, porcelain made anywhere in the world soon became known as ‘china’.

Desperately trying to emulate the hard, thin, translucent Chinese porcelain, potters across Europe began to experiment. Painter Tom Frye was the first to make a breakthrough by adding bone ash into a soft-paste mix, marking the first recorded use of bone in history. However, it wasn’t until English potter Josiah Spode II perfected the formula in 1799 that bone china as we know it today was born. Calcified bone was used as a refractory material with a lower firing temperature, resulting in a more delicate product with a glaze that is smoother than porcelain. This new form of bone china – first known as ‘Stoke china’ after its Stoke-on-Trent birthplace – outclassed all other forms of contemporary porcelains and was soon adopted amongst some of the UK’s most popular potters. In fact, it wasn’t long before the proclaimed ‘Father of English Potters’ Josiah Wedgwood began to incorporate bone china within his creations, and it started earning its prestige within British ceramic manufacturing.


Original BTC’s bone china lighting

Since its creation, bone china has made a huge impact on the British pottery industry – and Spode’s refined formula has remained at the forefront of all modern English china.

Within today’s lighting sector, Bone china’s unique characteristics make it the perfect choice amongst contemporary designers. Not only do its warm tones and opaque appearance make it look elegant, but its translucency also makes it ideal for items such as light and lamp shades. Put simply, bone china perfectly combines a delicate appearance with a stronger and more durable finish.

At Original BTC, we have a special relationship with bone china. In 2002, we saved a Stoke-on-Trent tableware manufacturer from closure. Given the factory’s location in the birthplace of bone china, it made a fitting facility in which to create all of our bone china pieces. From this moment on, bone china has been a much-loved and regularly used material which we have tried and tested extensively to produce new, diverse ranges and collections. We continue to use the traditional formula as it is of the highest quality, and produces the best results.

From talented designers to artisan china craftsmen, we have everything needed to create innovative lighting designs that make beautiful additions to any room. With bone china used in a variety of our lights including wall lights, pendants and table lamps, we use the inherent beauty of this material to help us create the most graceful and sophisticated designs possible.

To see our lights and understand the work that goes into each product, speak to one of our experts today on 0845 094 1858 or visit our website.