Pierced Porcelain by George Owen (1845-1917)

Owen hand vaseGeorge Owen became an expert for Royal Worcester Porcelain with his designs of pierced, or reticulated, porcelain.

Reticulated decoration originated in China – the ceramics usually have a double wall with the outside one pierced in a decorative lace design to show through to the inner coloured wall beneath. The piercing takes place before firing so the technique requires enormous skill to ensure the piece remains stable throughout the making process.

By the mid-19th century, the designs were popular with English collectors. Owen worked to perfect the process and his work is unique in its quality. He always worked alone so no one else ever knew how he made supported such delicate work and no other craftsman before or since has been able to match his skill. Owen was rare among the best porcelain makers as he was not paid a weekly wage. All his work was made for special orders, each of which were very expensive pieces.

A small number of works by George Owen were donated to the city museum in 1957 by his son.

There are also some particularly fine examples of George Owen’s work at the Museum of Royal Worcester.


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