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History Plain or History Decorated? The Battle for the Past in the 19th Century Staffordshire Pottery Industry

McLaren, G (2006) History Plain or History Decorated? The Battle for the Past in the 19th Century Staffordshire Pottery Industry. In: Design and Evolution' Design History Society Conference, 31 Aug - 2 Sep 2006, Delft.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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This paper presented to an academic audience for the first time aspects of my research towards my forthcoming book 'The Culture of Ceramics'. The massive 19th century expansion of the Staffordshire pottery industry was paralleled by developments in printing and publishing towards the mass-manufacture of widely available, reasonably priced books and periodicals. This paper analysed the histories of the pottery industry that were a result of this process. It argued that they quickly moved from being about popular education to being about the articulation of 'Self' for the industry during the second half of the century. The precise nature and significance of the past became a highly contested territory. The paper focused on the battle for the past as a lesson and model for the future of the industry in social, technological and stylistic terms. It showed how three powerful interest groups vied for control of this territory in the form of the manufacturers, the trade unions and a new class of collectors and connoisseurs. The paper suggested that a shared vision of the past and its significance to the present eventually developed from a common perception of the 'threat' of foreign competition, and the exigencies of the early 20th century.

Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Bath School of Art and Design
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 21:48
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/265
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