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Fine Porcelain with Snow White Tone: Bone China

Updated: Nov 11, 2018


Bone China’s Primary Characteristics:

- Made from kaolin, feldspar, quartz and bone ash

- Translucent and fine composition

- Opaque texture and appearance

- Thin-walled pieces give a more delicate appearance,

but offer more durability than basic porcelain

- Lighter in weight than basic porcelain

- Bone china white has a warmer tone to it, often described as “snow white”


Bone china is a type of porcelain originary from the 18th-century England and it is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material (china stone) and kaolin. Thomas Frye (circa 1710-1762), owner of the porcelain factory in Bow, London's East End, was the first to develop this procedure around 1748. The earliest Bow porcelains were made of soft-paste incorporating calcined bone in proportions of roughly 40-45%, forming a phosphatic body characterised by a warm, creamy aspect that tended towards ivory, which was the precursor of the bone china, so called "fine porcelain".

Between 1789 and 1793 Josiah Spode (1733–1797), owner of the porcelain factory in Stoke-on-Trent, improved the formula of the precedent soft-paste porcelain by including kaolin, so his formula, sometimes called "Staffordshire bone-porcelain", was effectively hard-paste. In this way he simplified the recipe: he abandoned the practice of calcining or fritting the bone with some of the other ingredients, and used the simple mixture of bone ash, china stone and kaolin, which since his time set the basic recipe of bone china. The traditional bone china recipe was 6 parts bone ash, 4 parts china stone and 3.5 parts kaolin, all finely ground together.


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