Bone china

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Cup and Saucer
MFA # 00.381


A strong, ivory-white, translucent Porcelain made with Kaolin and about 25-50% Bone ash. Bone china was invented by Josih Spode in the 1740s in England. While trying to duplicate Chinese porcelain, he discovered that China clay could be strengthened during and after firing with the addition of bone ash. Bone ash is a white Calcium phosphate powder obtained from calcined cattle bones. Bone china is biscuit-fired at 1250-1300 C then glost fired with a Lead or Borax glaze at 900-1000 C.

MFA# 65.2199

Synonyms and Related Terms

bone-china; English china; porcelaine tendre (Fr.); porcelana fosfática (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Robert Fournier, Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Pottery, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA, 1992
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: 'Ceramic'
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 429
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998