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Laois Heritage Society Talk

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Tourist Glaze: A Story of Irish Souvenir China

by John Stocks Powell

Thursday, 18th May, 8 pm

Portarlington Library

Laois Heritage Society presents a talk on ‘Tourist Glaze: A Story of Irish Souvenir China’. John Stocks Powell will present a talk on the history of souvenir china and its connections with the pottery makers of Laois.

Between the 1880s and 1920s a collecting craze developed for cheap ceramic souvenirs, identifiable by a locality. This ware is often known as Goss ware or crested china, and identifiable by a coat-of-arms, a transfer print of a view, and a name sometimes preceded by ‘A present from …’  Goss was William Henry Goss (1833-1906) and a potter in the Stoke-on-Trent district of Staffordshire, where pottery was a major industry. He devised, and soon came to realise, there was a profitable market in portable souvenirs. Other potters followed and there became a major craze for collecting, so much so that one of Moran’s articles denounced those ‘who collected crests’ as part of the Englishing of Ireland.

Goss’s feature was to create small ceramic items, mostly little vases, bearing the coat-of-arms of a place visited. The number of items produced for Irish places was inevitably smaller than such produced for England and Scotland.(With thanks to John Stocks Powell’s article for Offaly History)

John Stocks Powell will discuss this craze of collecting souvenir china and its connection with Laois at Portarlington Library, 8 pm on Thursday 18th of May. Laois Heritage Society would like thank the Laois library service for supporting this event. The event is free to all Laois Heritage Society members and library users.

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