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Chinaman (porcelain)

Japanned Tea Boards, Waiters, Toilet and Card Boxes,

the best India Soy, Fish and Counters, Fans, etc, etc.
which will be sold at the present London Prices. He
has also a large Parcel of useful China from Commodore
JOHNSTONE's Prize Goods taken from the Dutch,
which will be sold cheap.
He is lately returned from Staordshire with a very large
and elegant Assortment of that much improved Manufactory, particularly some compleat Table Services, after the
Dresden Manner and from their Patterns; and in consequence of his frequent Attendance on that Manufactory,
he will be able to supply his Warehouse in Norwich immediately with every new and improved Pattern.
The above Goods, with all Sorts of Glass, Stone, Delft,
and Earthen Ware, will be sold Wholesale and Retail
upon very low Terms.
N.B. All Wholesale Dealers will meet with very great Encouragement for ready Money.

This business card from about 1764 reads, William Hussey,

China and Glass Man, In Coventry Street, Piccadilly, London.
Sells all Sorts of China, Glass and Stone Ware; Likewise Japan
Dressing Boxes for Ladies Toilets with Variety of India Fans &c.
&c. Wholesale and Retail. N.B. The above Goods for Exportation. It is embellished with Chinese motifs such as a gure with
a pigtail.[1]

Norfolk Chronicle (July 12th 1783) in the British Library

A chinaman is a dealer in porcelain and chinaware, especially in 18th-century London, where this was a recognised trade; a toyman dealt additionally in fashionable tries, such as snuboxes.[2] Chinamen bought large
quantities of china imported by the East India Company,
who held auctions twice a year in London. The traders
then distributed chinaware throughout England.
Imports from China declined at the end of the 18th century. Domestic production by the English potteries became large and the manufacturers, such as Mason and
Wedgwood, became successful and supplied their own retail businesses.

1 Chinaware
Chinese porcelain was imported into England from the
1680s. London was the main port where between one
Blue and white porcelain in a Chinese style. The willow pattern
and two million pieces were landed each year. These
was actually invented in England and this piece was produced in
were sold at auction by the East India Company and
the resulting trade made London the hub for distribution of chinaware throughout the country. London reWilliam BELOE, China-Man,
mained the centre of the trade even after large scale proMarket-Place, Norwich
duction started in the English provinces, especially the
Staordshire Potteries. This was because of the continuHas just received from the India Companys Sale a large ing import/export business and the concentration of artisand regular Assortment of useful and ornamental China, tic talent and the cream of society there.[3]



4 See also

Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers

The occupation of chinaman was documented by A General Description of All Trades in 1747: This business
is altogether shopkeeping, and some of them carry on
5 References
a very considerable Trade... The cost of becoming an
apprentice was usually 20 to 50 but could be as much
as 200. A journeyman was given wages of 20 to 30 a 5.1 Citations
year plus board.[4] The value of the stock in trade would
typically be 500 but a prosperous merchant might have [1] Trade Card, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2 April 2013
stock valued at 2,000 or more.
[2] Horace Walpole, who took the lease on Strawberry Hill
from the toy-woman Mrs Chevenix, said of the little villa
One prominent chinaman of this well-to-do sort was
in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (5 June 1747), This little
James Giles who had premises in Soho and a fashionable
rural bijou was Mrs Chevenixs, the toy-woman la mode,
showroom near Charing Cross.
In the 1760s, Josiah
who in every dry season is to furnish me with the best rainWedgwood was the rst of the English potters to open
water from Paris, and now and then some Dresden-china
his own showroom in West End of London rather than
making bulk sales to the trade (as well as commissions for
large services); eventually others followed. The retail side [3] Weatherill 1986, p. 51.
of Wedgwoods operation was run by his partner the
cultivated merchant, Thomas Bentley. Bentley opened a [4] Young 1999a, p. 158.
showroom on the corner of St. Martins Lane, then moved [5] Young 1999a, p. 173.
to Greek Street in Soho and opened further showrooms in
[6] Young 1999b, p. 264.
other fashionable places such as Bath.[7]
[7] Blaszczyk 2002, p. 8.
[8] Young 1999a, p. 160.
[9] Coutts 2001, p. 153.


[10] Godden 1983, p. 115.

[11] Copeland 2008, p. 7.

In 1785, they formed a trade association called the China [12] Godden 1996, p. foreword.
Club.[8] Collusion developed at the biannual auctions of
the East India Company from about 1779.[9] This auction
ring depressed the prices obtained at auction and so the 5.2 Sources
trade became unprotable.[10] The import duty on tea was
reduced from 119% to 12.5% in 1784. This increased the
Blaszczyk, Regina Lee (2002), Imagining Condemand for tea and so it became the preferred cargo.[11]
sumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to
In 1791, the Court of Directors ordered that, henceforth,
Corning, JHU Press, ISBN 978-0-8018-6914-3
china was only be carried as ballast on their vessels. This
Cheang, Sarah (2007), Selling China: Class, Genreduced the import trade considerably and so, in 1795,
der and Orientalism at the Department Store,
the chinaman Miles Mason of Fenchurch Street, asked
Journal of Design History (Oxford University
whether the company would carry private shipments of
Press for Design History Society) 20 (1): 116,
china for a carriage fee. They declined and Mason went
on to develop a business in Liverpool and then Staordshire.
Copeland, Robert (2008), Spode, Osprey PublishMason wanted to develop a method of making replaceing, ISBN 978-0-7478-0364-5
ment pieces for existing sets of china. His experiments
Coutts, Howard (2001), Porcelain in Eighteenthled to the development of a type of pottery which, like
Century Britain, The Art of Ceramics: European
Chinese porcelain, was strong and so resisted chipping.
Ceramic Design, 15001830, Yale University Press,
This was ironstone china which developed into a substanISBN
tial business under his son, Charles, who patented the process. Many other potteries in England copied this style
Godden, Georey A (1983), Staordshire Porcelain,
and large quantities were exported to other countries such
as France and the United States.[12][9] The original trade
Roberts, Gaye; Godden, Georey (1996), Masons,
in imports from China ceased in 1798 as the East India
The First Two Hundred Years, Merrell Holberton
Company stopped making bulk sales.[10]



Smith, S (1974), Norwich china dealers of the

mideighteenth century, Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle IX: 207
Waller, T (1747), A General Description of All
Trades: Digested in Alphabetical Order
Weatherill, Lorna (1986), The Business of
Middleman in the English Pottery Trade Before 1780, Business History 28 (3): 5176,
Young, Hilary (1999a), English Porcelain, 1745
95: its makers, design, marketing and consumption,
Harry N. Abrams, ISBN 978-1-85177-282-7
Young, Hilary (1999b), Manufacturing outside the
Capital: The British Porcelain Factories, Their Sales
Networks and Their Artists, 17451795, Journal of Design History (Oxford University Press
for Design History Society) 12 (3): 25769,


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Chinaman (porcelain) Source: Contributors: Wetman, Piotrus,

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Burne-Jones and Anonymous: 1



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