A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FLIGHT & BARR WORCESTER FLORAL SPECIMEN DESSERT SERVICE, CIRCA 1810.
PAINTED BY WILLIAM BILLINGSLEY.
PROVENANCE: Ex Laurance S. Rockefeller Estate Sotheby’s New York October 2005.
Comprising: Two superb tureens & covers, two oval dishes & twenty-four dessert plates. Each painted with a different floral pattern upon a fading grey reserve within gilt vermiculi, decorated borders and wide banded gilt rims. Impressed and printed makers marks.
Reference: The Ewers-Tyne Collection at Cheekwood by John Sandon Item 77, a plate from this unique service identified as being the work of William Billingsley.
Billingsley was born in Derby in 1758. He was apprenticed at William Duesbury's Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Works where he learnt to be an outstanding painter of porcelain. Billingsley developed a distinctive style of flower painting, which involved using a loaded brush and then removing the colour using a dry brush.
Billingsley started at Royal Worcester in 1808 where he was instrumental in the firm's refinements of its porcelain recipe. While at Royal Worcester under Flight, Barr & Barr, Billingsley signed a contract preventing him from disclosing porcelain recipes, however no clause prohibited him from producing porcelain himself. In 1813 Billingsley took his porcelain recipes and lifetime's experience in the industry, along with his daughters Levinia, Sarah and son-in-law Samuel Walker to Nantgarw, Glamorganshire, Wales, where he established the Nantgarw Pottery.
Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (May 26, 1910 – July 11, 2004) was an American philanthropist, businessman, financier, and major conservationist. He was a prominent third-generation member of the Rockefeller family.