William Duesbury

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William Duesbury
William Duesbury.jpg
Silhouette of William Duesbury (18th century).
Born William Duesbury
(1725-09-07)7 September 1725
Longton Hall, Staffordshire, England
Died 30 October 1786(1786-10-30) (aged 61)[1]
Derby
Nationality English
Ethnicity Caucasian
Citizenship British
Occupation Fine porcelain manufacture
Spouse(s) Sarah James
Children William Duesbury, Frederick Duesbury
Parents William Duesbury

William Duesbury (1725–1786) was an important enameller and British entrepreneur, founder of the Royal Crown Derby and owner of porcelain factories at Bow, Chelsea, Derby and Longton Hall.[2]

Biography[edit]

Basket, c. 1758-1760
Brittania figure dated 1780 now in Derby Museum

Duesbury was born on 7 September 1725.[2] to William Duesbury, currier, of Cannock in Staffordshire.[3]

Around 1742 he was working as an enameller in London, where he remained until 1753. Subsequently, between 1754-5, he lived and worked in Longton Hall, where his father lived and where there was a small china works.[2][4]

On 1 January 1756 he moved with his father to Derby having acquired a share in the Derby potworks on Cockpit Hill with his new partners John Heath and Andrew Planche (1728–1805) a talented French Huguenot potter.[3][5] Planche did not remain long in the partnership and left Derby. Duesbury with Heath's financial backing opened a new factory on the Nottingham Road.[6] This new venture proved to be a success. A London agent was engaged in April 1757.[4]

In 1770 Duesbury was able to purchase the failing Chelsea pottery factory and for the next few years he probably used it to decorate pottery produced in Derby destined for the London market. He continued the tradition at Chelsea of holding an annual auction. The first was on 17 April 1771 and the three following days, the next in 1773. In June 1774 he opened a warehouse in London at No. 1 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, and held periodical auctions of his wares at that address and stopped the Chelsea auctions.[3][4] The ware was announced sometimes as Derby and Chelsea, and sometimes as Chelsea alone; and specimens of the various wares were on permanent view at the warehouse in Bedford Street, Covent Garden.[7]

In March 1775 Duesbury and John Heath were given a Royal Warrant by George III appointing them "China Manufacturers in Ordinary to His Majesty".[8] This allowed them to include a crown on their porcelain mark. The Duesbury "D" was now capped with a crown to record that they were "Derby China Manufacturers to His Majesty".[9] Also in 1775 Duesbury acquired the manufactory of Bow and in 1777 those of Giles's manufactory, Kentish Town, and others.[3]

In 1779 Duesbury faced a sever financial crisis because his business partner Heath went bankrupt. Duesbury managed to survive the crisis and in August 1780 was able to purchase Heath's share of the business from his creditors. He was now the sole proprietor of "the leading porcelain manufacturer in England".[4] In 1783 his business was helped when George, Prince of Wales chose to use Duesbury's wares furnish Carlton House.[4] The next year, 1784, Duesbury centralised all his manufacturing processes in Derby.[4]

Duesbury died of a heart attack on 30 October 1786 at the china factory in Nottingham Road Derby and was buried on 2 November at St Alkmund's Church, Derby. His business passed to his eldest son and partner William Duesbury.[4]

Family[edit]

In about 1750 Duesbury married Sarah James (1724–1780) of Shrewsbury. Four children survived him as mentioned above William Duesbury (1763–1796) his eldest son and heir.[4] Duesbury took into partnership an Irish miniature-painter Michael Kean. Duesbury's health broke up early, and he died in 1796. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William Edwards, solicitor, of Derby (who remarried the above mentioned Kean), he left three sons, of whom William Duesbury, born in 1787, inherited, but did not take part in the works, which in 1809 were disposed of to Robert Bloor. The second son, Frederick Duesbury, became a well-known physician in London, and was father of Henry Duesbury, who practised as an architect in London, and died in 1872.[DNB 1][DNB 2][DNB 3][10]

Memorials[edit]

In early 2013 Derby City Council and Derby Civic Society announced they would erect a Blue Plaque as a memorial to him at Landau Forte college, in Derby.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Campbell 2006, p. 334.
  2. ^ a b c Page 1911, pp. 150–155.
  3. ^ a b c d Cust 1888, p. 125.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Cust & Ledger 2008.
  5. ^ Cust & Ledger 2008 cites Jewit, L. F. W. (1878). 'Derby china’, The ceramic art of Great Britain, from pre-historic times 2. p. 67. 
  6. ^ Bemrose 1898, p. 6.
  7. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Page 1911, pp. 150–155
  8. ^ Cust & Ledger 2008 cites: TNA: PRO, LC3/67/73
  9. ^ Perry 2011, History of Royal Crown Porcelain Company.
  10. ^  Lionel Henry Cust (Signing as L. C. in the DNB) (1888). "Duesbury, William (DNB00)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 16. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 126. 
  11. ^ Derby Evening Telegraph, 12 Feb 2013, "List Of Derbeians To Be Honoured"

References[edit]

Attribution

DNB references[edit]

These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.

  1. ^ Haslem's Old Derby China Manufactory
  2. ^ Jewitt's Ceramic Art of Great Britain
  3. ^ Wallis and Bemrose's Pottery and Porcelain of Derbyshire.

Further reading[edit]

  • AM staff (2011). "Royal Crown Derby". Antique Marks. Retrieved August 2011. 
  • Bemrose, William (1898). Bow, Chelsea, and Derby Porcelain. London: Bemrose & Sons, Ltd. p. 6.