NANTGARW POTTERY & PORCELAIN
Welsh porcelain production started with the arrival of William Billingsley at Nantgarw South Wales, in the year 1813. Billingsley was accompanied by his son in-law Samuel Walker and his daughters Sarah and Lavinia. Even with the financial help of William Weston Young, Billingsley failed to produce a stable porcelain because of a high rate of collapse in the kiln, although the firings that where successful were now producing the finest porcelain ever produced, and in 1814 production at Nantgarw ceased.
Billingsleys only hope now rested on the shoulders of Mr Lewis Weston Dillwyn, owner of the Swansea pottery, Dillwyn hearing of their plight at Nantgarw offered him the use of the facilities at the Swansea Pottery and with his financial backing a new kiln was constructed and new trials started about the end of 1814. Many new bodies were produced at Swansea and a lot of very fine porcelain was either decorated at the factory by local artists such as Henry Morris ,William Pollard, David Evans, George Beddoe,Thomas Baxter and William Billingsley himself, or sent to London, to be decorated by enamelling shops such as `Bradley & co. `Powell 91 Wimpole st `Sims and Mortlocks. But as at Nantgarw the porcelain still collapsed in the kiln and Mr Dillwyn , losing money started interfering with William Billingsleys attempt to produce the quality of porcelain he knew was possible. Billingsley decided to return to Nantgarw and continue his trials with Samuel Walker
At the end of 1816 or early 1817 William Billingsley,with more financial backing from William Weston Young continued on his relentless search for a porcelain body equal to the finest produced anywhere. In the years between 1817 and 1820 he succeeded and the majority of the Nantgarw porcelain produced at this time was sent to London to the likes of Mortlocks to be decorated for the aristocracy and royalty, but again he could not produce it and make a profit.
William Billingsley left Nantgarw in 1820 after seeing both his daughters die during the short time he had spent in South Wales. William Weston Young tried to recuperate some of his losses by employing Thomas Pardoe to decorate the remaining pieces, he also decorated a few pieces himself.
In 1822 the remainder of the Nantgarw porcelain was sold at auction and the factory closed. At Swansea Lewis Weston Dillwyn had sold the Swansea pottery to T & J Bevinton who had no interest in producing porcelain, production there stopped, the Bevingtons continuing with the pottery, and so ended production of porcelain in South Wales that was to become famous throughout the world.