printed wares featuring American views which can be positively attributed to
the Rogers factory by marked pieces are to date limited to Boston Harbour (so
called, although the predominant feature of the design is the American Eagle) and
Boston State House, the latter view being known with some variations in design. No evidence exists to support the attribution
to Rogers of the ‘Shipping Series’ views of sailing vessels with a border of
foliage and mottled sea shells, one of which is said to describe the engagement
of the ‘Shannon’ and the ‘Chesapeake’ on June 1st 1813.
John and George Rogers are listed in Bailey’s Directory of 1784 as
manufacturers of china glazed blue painted wares and cream coloured at Burslem. It is likely that at this date they were
operating from the potworks which their father Francis had owned and which he
left to John, the elder son, in his will.
By 1789 the brothers were potting in Longport and in 1796 George insured
a second and newly built potworks in his own name, although documentary
evidence indicates that the brothers continued to trade as partners. George Rogers died in April 1815 and John in
December 1816. John had a son, Spencer
Rogers, who inherited the business and continued to trade as ‘John Rogers &
Son’. Spencer Rogers continued in
business until 1842, in which year he was adjudicated bankrupt.
the firm’s American trade is to be found in the order book of the Boston
merchant Horace Collamore, who gave the factory three orders; the first, for
twenty five crates on 23rd May, 1814; the second, for three crates
and five hogsheads on 4th December 1815; and the third, for twenty
five crates, on 4th May 1816. The last order was placed to ‘John
Rogers & Son’, noting the change of title following the death of one of the
order included ten crates of printed tea and table ware. The named patterns
were Stag, Zebra, Camel, Elephant and Oriental.
In the second, the printed part comprised dining ware and muffins (i.e.
plates) in Roman Statue and Willow and teas in ‘old Camel and Rose
Border’. The printed element of the
third order included plates of various sizes in Willow, Roman Statue, Stag,
Zebra and Hindustan and teawares in Marine, India and ‘Marine and Rose Border’.
these patterns can be identified with the known American views made by the Rogers
firm, although it is conceivable, but still to be proved, that ‘Marine’ may
have been the contemporary name for the pattern now known by collectors as
The bulk of
Rogers’ blue printed output was medium rather than dark in colour. Collamore’s
Order Book contains two entries which
suggest that the American demand for a darker blue tone developed around
1817-1818: on 19th September 1817, he ordered from Mayer &
Keeling of Shelton (a merchant, not a manufacturer) a crate of teapots described
as ‘darker blue & brown’; on 13th May 1818, he ordered from John
Yates, a Shelton manufacturer, four crates of dark blue printed teaware and
tableware. More significantly in the
context of Rogers’ output, Mayer & Keeling were given a further order on 19th
August 1818 which included ‘blue printed dining ware, new dark pattern, State
A detailed history of the Rogers factory is to be found in ‘John and George Rogers of Burslem and
Longport’ by Trevor Markin: Northern Ceramic Society Journal Vol. 24 2007-8 at
The Collamore Order & Letter Book is available on microfilm at Old
Sturbridge Village, Mass., U.S.A