With 2017 being the bicentenary of William Billingsley’s return to Nantgarw, plans are underway for a series of projects to help raise the profile of Nantgarw China Works to attract new audiences to the Museum and generate new income streams.
The first stage of the project is a research and development project which will research the many possible recipes for the Nantgarw body. With the aid of contemporary knowledge, materials and kilns the project will look to recreate, as closely as possible, the original porcelain body and glaze and identify whether 21st century knowledge can overcome some of the technical hurdles which affected the china works two hundred years ago.
The project will be working with technical experts on early frits, University departments, clay manufacturers and experts in slip casting, porcelain decoration and gilding. With the exception of certain industrial processes, the research and test firings will all take place at Nantgarw in the same premises as originally used by William Billingsley and Samuel Walker.
The primary funding will be coming from a R&D grant from the Arts Council of Wales and a crowdfunding campaign hosted on the Art Fund’s Art Happens platform. This will run from June 8th for 30 days. There will be a number of very attractive rewards for those wishing to donate to the fundraising which will be communicated to members in emails in June.
In 2018/19 we plan to move on to create a body of contemporary work using the ‘new’ Nantgarw porcelain which will be shipped out to contemporary artists to decorate. This mirrors the way this would have happened in the early nineteenth century.