Lancaster delftware: A Raman spectroscopy, electron microscopy and Mossbauer spectroscopy compositional study

William Harold Jay, John Dixon Cashion, B Blenkinship

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In 2008, excavations were conducted by the Northern Ceramic Society at the site of the former Lancaster delftware potworks, which operated between 1754 and about 1790. The recovered sherds have been non-destructively examined by Raman and electron microscopies and the iron phases in the biscuit by Missbauer spectroscopy. These methods have provided a new understanding of the mineralogy of the delftware produced at Lancaster using clay imported from Carrickfergus in Ireland and blended with the local ferruginous-aluminous clays. This has implications for the attribution of delftware produced at Liverpool, Bristol, Scotland and Ireland. The Carrickfergus clay has been found to be highly dolomitic resulting in the body of the delftware forming diopside and the magnesian olivine forsterite, when fired. Brookite had not converted to rutile, nor had tridymite, nor cristobalite formed; the K-feldspars did not undergo further chemical reactions, and the observation of metakaolin would suggest that the biscuit firing temperature was in the order of 800-900 C. Chalcedony containing moganite was established as the silica source. A cobalt-containing lead-tin glaze was applied to the biscuit body and, after decorating, was fired. Themineralogy of the pigments used to decorate the objects indicate the yellow to be the PbSbSn triple oxide, the green to be a copper silicat mixed with lead-tin yellow, the purple and browns to be manganese silicate and the blue to contain cobalt spinels and cobalt pyroxenes. Diopside crystals together with recrystallised tin agglomerates have been observed floating within the glaze. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265 - 1282
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Raman Spectroscopy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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