Nineteenth-Century Pottery and Porcelain in Canada


477 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-7735-0392-7




Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



This work, originally published in 1967, has now been enlarged and updated, with more photographs and the results of over 15 additional years of research.

Collard’s work is impressive for its scope, detail, quality of research, and empathy. That she knows and loves her subject is evident. Her dedication and skill as a researcher and historian is paired with an ability to convey her enthusiasm and make the subject come to life.

Her premise is that the real history of ceramics is the history of transportation and distribution. She deals with how a Spode teacup, for example, would have found its way from England to the Canadian backwoods, or perhaps to a prairie sod hut, to share shelf space with pemmican and a scalping knife. By sailing ship, long boat, back pack, mule train, and ox cart, countless thousands of hogsheads of crockery moved across the ocean and the continent. The story of pottery in Canada is the story of the importers, dealers, shopkeepers, and freight handlers who took part in the incredible task of bringing ceramic ware to the settler’s table.

Earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain are examined in detail. She looks at types, styles, popularity, function, key names associated with each type, fads, and advertisements. Each type is considered in the context of the economic and social life of the period.

There is a section on Canadian-made goods and a checklist of nineteenth century Canadian potters. China decorating and potters’ and importers’ marks are discussed.

Nearly 200 black-and-white photos illustrate the various types of crockery — from “common goods for the country trade” to “little ornamental matters” — and trade advertisements.

This substantial work will have considerable appeal to anyone interested in pottery, social history, or antiques.


Collard, Elizabeth, “Nineteenth-Century Pottery and Porcelain in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,