In accordance with the announcement by the provincial government, the Gardiner Museum has closed temporarily. The health and safety of our visitors, staff, and the wider community remains our top priority. We'll continue to provide you with engaging digital content to keep us connected while the galleries are closed.
During our temporary closure, we're posting exhibitions and selections from our collection online. Discover Inuit ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, pottery from the Ancient Americas, and more!
On Thursday April 29 at 1 pm, join us for a free online lecture with Professor Alison McQueen, who will discuss the significant contributions of women working at Sèvres in the first century of its history. The presentation will feature works from leading international porcelain collections and bring attention to the often-overlooked roles of women retouching glaze, laying down prints, and burnishing. Register now!
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
With the Museum closed temporarily, we need your support to continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation to help us build community with clay.
Despite early experiments, the first commercially successful production of porcelain in England did not occur until 1745, when the Chelsea manufactory was established in London. By the 1750s a number of porcelain manufacturers were operating in London, the Midlands, East Anglia, and the West of England. All English porcelain manufacturers were run as commercial businesses by entrepreneurs without direct royal or noble patronage.
Early English porcelain was “soft-paste”, low-fired, and made without kaolin. During the second half of the eighteenth century, manufacturers tried different formulas to prevent their porcelain from slumping during firing or from cracking when filled with boiling liquids—an essential requirement given the British love of tea. Bodies could include “frit”, a glassy compound made of a variety of different materials that were ground and added to clay; soapstone, which prevented cracking; and bone ash, which added strength. Eventually, kaolin was discovered in England and some hard-paste porcelain was produced.
The Gardiner Museum’s assemblage of English porcelain includes gifts made by many significant Canadian collectors including George and Helen Gardiner, Vernon W. Armstrong, Norman B. and Cicely B. Bell, Barry and Marjorie Pepper, and the Radlett Collection. It is the most comprehensive in the country.
1. Sunflower Dish (detail), England, London, c.1755, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1108.1-2
2. Sunflower Dish (detail), England, London, c.1755, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1108.1-2
3. Wall Vase (detail), Austria, Du Paquier, c.1730, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1220
4. Ewer and Basin (detail), France, Sèvres, c.1758, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G84.1.2
5. The Monkey Orchestra (detail), Germany, Dresden, Meissen, c.1753-1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.675.1-.18
6. Sugar Box with Armorial (detail), Italy, Doccia, c.1745-1750, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1105
7. Gardener with Watering Can (detail), Switzerland, Zurich, c.1770, The Hans Syz Collection, G96.5.421
8. Chocolate Pot (detail), Denmark, Copenhagen, c.1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1104
9. Scowling Harlequin (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1738-40, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.907
10. Teapot (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1730, decorated at Lauche, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.764
11. Exotic Bird (detail), England, London, St. Jame's Factory, c.1751-1754, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1005
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7