Glasgow-made Nautilus porcelain to be sold at McTear's in July

Posted in: British & Continental Ceramics & Glass
Posted on: 17 June 2016
Glasgow-made Nautilus porcelain to be sold at McTear's in July By the end of the late Victorian period, Scotland’s porcelain industry was burgeoning; this was a reflection of the increasingly industrialised nature of larger British cities in the 19th century. Near Edinburgh, for example, ‘Coral’ wares were made at Castle pottery in Prestonpans, yet it was the Nautilus Porcelain Company in Glasgow that dominated the market for decorative domestic wares. Daniel and John McDougall founded the company in 1895
when they purchased the bankrupt Possil Pottery Company, situated in the Possilpark area of Glasgow, which had originally opened as the Saracen Pottery in 1876. McDougall & Sons had been trading in china, earthenware and glass since 1790. By the late Victorian period, the brothers were retailing wares in showrooms in Buchanan Street (Glasgow’s central shopping avenue) and they had also embarked on china and glass engraving. As is noted in the Post Office Directory, the brothers were ‘wholesale, retail, and export glass and china merchants, glass engravers, china decorators and gilders,and importers of foreign goods.’

The Nautilus Porcelain Company became renowned nationally for its distinctive style. In particular, it aspired to the middle class market, particularly in terms of selling to buyers of Limoges, Worcester and Belleek. The porcelain produced was soft-paste, usually made by mixing white clay with ‘frit’, a
substance which was a mixture of white sand, gypsum, soda, salt, alum and nitre. This was then fired after the composite materials were fused with chalk or lime. Nautilus porcelain is often classic in shape, yet it is distinctive in the use of lavish gilding and striking decoration. It has been suggested
that the McDougall brothers enticed china modellers, mould makers and painters from Worcester, Staffordshire and Limoges, and while this has not been proven, it is clear that Worcester inspired designers for the Nautilus Porcelain Company.

The British & Continental Ceramics & Glass Auction, held Friday 22nd July at 3pm, offers two examples from this important Glasgow company. A Nautilus figure of a water carrier comes in the form of lot 930, estimated at £180-220. More typical of the wares produced by the factory, the auction also features Nautilus tea china, estimated £60-90 for the lot. If you have a collection of Nautilus porcelain or any other ceramics that you wish to have valued, please contact McTear's by telephone (0141 810 2880) or email


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