Dating belleek baskets
Caldwell deduced that his estate’s locale in the rural hamlet of Belleek in County Fermanagh, Ireland, proved perfect for ceramic production.
Thus, the Belleek brand was born, and it rose to acclaim with remarkable speed following its appearance at the 1864 Dublin Exhibition.
Once technical problems had been overcome the factory began to make mostly slip cast porcelain in a vast array of unglazed and glazed, enamelled and gilded wares.
Many pieces, which were designed and manufactured in the first period, are still in production today.
The following decade at that same exhibition, Belleek wares caught the eye of England’s Queen Victoria, who subsequently ordered her own service by the makers.
By the turn of the century the company had shifted its focus to pearly white Parian porcelain, so named for its smooth finish akin to the luminous marble from ancient Paros, Greece.
Our crafts embody our cultural and creative heritage, and they come in many shapes and forms – most having roots in practical daily chores.
Just look at our beautiful, hand-weaved willow baskets, Nicholas Mosse platters, Derek Wilson ceramic jugs and Cushendale lambswool blankets. Belleek Pottery tea cups, Waterford crystal vases, and Thomas Ferguson’s crisp Irish linen napkins.
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Image Right: Belleek continues today to be famous throughout the world for the production of fine Parian porcelain but in the beginning the company relied heavily on its manufacture of earthenware to keep the factory operating.