Culvertons Antiques

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A time for change, ideas and inventions.

30/10/2011 5:35 AM

This historic portrait is attributed to Sir John Russell RA (1745-1806), and is of Savile Green (circa 1780) - one of the original  founders of a pottery in the Leeds area later to become Hartley Greens & Co - a household name in the late 18th century. Culvertons were recently asked to value this pastel drawing for insurance purposes, by a descendent of the sitter.

Sir John Russell was known to have been active in the Leeds area at this time. A signed and possible pair to the above of his partner John Green is documented to have been in the possession of a John Rhodes in 1891.

Alongside Richard Humble known as the father of the Leeds Pottery), Charles Branding, Savile Green, Alexander Turner and John Green  founded the pottery in 1770 - in the then small village of Hunslet ( later known as the Workshop of Leeds). Production at a 5 1/2 acre site on Jack Lane included a wide range of pearl and red stonewares and a new type of earthenware (white Cornish clay combined with a translucent glaze) later known as Leedsware .

Even in those early days, it was noted, that within a three year period the factory consumed over 9000 tons of coal (at that stage transported with the help of 50 horses on Charles Brandings wooden wagon way from Middleton). In 1781 William Hartley joined the pottery, adding his design and business expertise to the Greens production skills, and by 1790 the company employed 150 people.

In 1808 John Blenkinsop because of the ever rising costs of horse feed, designed and patented the rack and pinion method of traction. He approached Fenton, Murray and Woods Round Foundry to build a steam locomotive that made use of his invention, their expertise in steam and the design skills of one of the partners Mathew Murray.

In 1812 the Salamanca and Prince Regent engines could each pull 26 tons of coal , enabling the cheap transportation of the vital energy source needed by Hartley Greens & Co. Royal patronage, the lack of political will at the time to halt the exploitation of underage workers and the opening up of overseas markets by Savile Green enabled the pottery to flourish, their wares in demand across the Europe and into Russia.

The death of the potteries founders in early part of the nineteenth century, the changing fashions of the Victorian era, and the continual squabbling amongst the ever increasing number of share holders, contributed to the decline in demand for their wares until the companies closure in 1878. The kilns and the buildings have long since disappeared, but the survival of pattern books and moulds are still enabling Leedsware to be produced and admired today. Replica Breitling Watches