South West Wales

Nantgarw Chinaworks: Boost for porcelain lost recipe bid

Nantgarw Chinaworks museum Image copyright Nantgarw Chinaworks museum
Image caption The factory switched to making stoneware bottles and earthenware until it closed in 1920, before later reopening as a museum

A bid to restart production at a 200-year-old porcelain plant has been given a boost after a private donor came forward to double donations.

Nantgarw Chinaworks, near Caerphilly, created items that decorated the dinner tables of royalty and aristocracy.

An effort to raise £15,000 to restart production reached 20% of its target in its first seven days.

Now a donor will match all new donations to help re-create the porcelain.

Project Manager Charles Fountain said it was hoped the match funding would help donations to find the recipe, lost when the factory closed in 1821 after just four years in production.

Artist and potter William Billingsley's recipe was revered as the whitest, finest and most translucent porcelain ever made.

Image copyright Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum
Image caption The crockery was elaborately decorated

Plates, cups, bowls and decorative items were fired in bottle kilns before being sold to London's finest porcelain decorators, ending up on the dining tables of the rich and famous across the world.

But it tended to warp and crack in the kiln and there are few remaining examples of it - most of which are held in collections at National Museum of Wales and London's V&A.

Mr Fountain said the bid to restart production by finding the lost recipe to recreate the porcelain was an "exciting and unique project."

The campaign needs to raise £15,000 in funding by 7 July.

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