Our speaker of the evening will be Dr. Minnie Holdaway. Dr. Holdaway is a Marine biologist by profession and a Fellow of the Lincan Society and The Zoological Society. She is Chairman of The Morley College Ceramic Circle, Secretary of the Wedgwood Society of London, Committee Member of The Spode Society, and member of the Norther Ceramic Society, The Friends of Blue, the Derby International Porcelain Society, and the English Ceramic Circle.
Her main ceramic interests are the early blue and white earthenwares, both printed and painted, from 1780-1820. She has made the analysis of the West Pans porcelain shards of Littler from the recent excavations of the site of the pottery in Scotland. Dr. Holdaway is also interested in all aspects of shapes of early porcelains and earthenwares as to their use and function.
Dr. Holdaway's lecture will be "A study of West Pans Porcelains from recent excavations on the site." From the recent excavations on the West Pans site, a completely new appreciation of the porcelain production by William Littler at West Pans, with respect to shapes and decoration.
William Littler was the son of William Littler, baptized on December 1, 1724 at Burslem.
He was initially known as a salt-glaze potter, was both a brother-in-law and shared a pot bank with Aaron Wedgwood (a cousin of Josiah Wedgwood, not the Aaron Wedgwood of the Big House). Though Littler's name is associated with Littler-Wedgwood blue decorated stoneware there is no contemporary reference to Littler's involvement. (per Arnold Montford, Staffordshire Salt-glazed Stoneware).
On May 23, 1760, Robert Charlesworth notified Samuel Firmin (son of Nathaniel who died six months after buying shares) that he was dissolving the partnership. Samuel Firmin published his confirmation on September 8, 1760. Littler appears to have tried to keep the factory going for a few months after the May 23 notice, but between September 16-20, large quantities of stock was sold at auction. In 1764, the story picked up in West Pans in Scotland where he appeared to have been active until 1777. Interestingly enough, it appeared that some pieces with "Littler's blue" were produced during this period.
William Littler was buried on October 28, 1784, back in Staffordshire.
The above information was taken from the book Longtan Hall by Dr. Bernard Watney, Faher and Faher, London, 1952.