What We Do

History

Originating in Bilston in 1741, enamel boxes were made to carry snuff, sweets, and beauty spots. Eighteenth century courting couples made them popular as gifts betokening lasting affection. 

Our boxes are 100% hand painted. Each box is a work of art. Production methods have changed little from those used by our Georgian forefathers.

        

Creation

A Staffordshire Enamel box starts life as a copper sheet. The lid and base parts of the box are produced by spinning or pressing the shapes from thin copper sheets. The surface of the copper is pickled in acid to clean and roughen it ready to accept the application of enamel.

Enamel is created from vitreous glass, which is milled to a fine powder and converted to emulsion by the addition of water and coloured oxides. Each copper form is coated with a ground coat and several layers of white or coloured enamel either by spraying or dipping. Each coat is individually fired in kilns heated to 800 degrees centigrade to ensure longevity and the deep lustrous finish.

Artwork for each design is hand drawn by distinguished artists, and approved by our Head Designer. Once a finished design has been approved an outline is drawn in black ink and a ceramic lithograph printed. This is applied to the enameled surface of the box. A further firing fixes the black outline which is then used by artists as a guide. Colours are hand mixed from specially selected fine pigments and oils such as clove, turpentine and aniseed. Platinum, gold and raised white decorations are all used on occasion to enhance the design and create special effects in the Georgian tradition. Once hand painting is completed, the most time consuming of all the many processes, the box is again fired to fix the colours and add the final glaze.

Staffordshire Enamels boxes, bonbonnières, music boxes, paperweights and clocks are shipped all over the world to discerning collectors. The boxes are treasured not only for the pleasure they give today and every day, but also for their investment potential.

Many collectors ask us to inscribe the inside lid or base with a very special message.
We are pleased to do this for a small extra charge.