The Bowes Museum > Collections > Explore The Collection > Galleries > Ceramics


The Bowes Museum’s collection of ceramics is one of the most comprehensive collections in the UK, covering the full range of continental porcelain and faience from medieval times to the 19th century. Particularly close to Joséphine’s heart, most of the objects are small in scale and delicate in decoration revealing her exquisite taste. Collecting ceramics during the period 1862-1874, provided the Bowes with rich pickings from all European countries and of all qualities, from the most finished, richly coloured and finely gilded porcelains of the Vienna, Berlin and Paris factories, to the charming naively painted 'faiences patriotiques', of which they formed a surprisingly large collection. The collection's greatest strength is concentrated in the 18th century; Delftware and French and German faience are almost unrivalled in Britain and contain many unusual or dated pieces. The collection also holds a substantial amount of the early French ‘soft-paste’ porcelain factories, such as Saint-Cloud, Chantilly, Vincennes and Sèvres.

European Pottery

European Porcelain 1700 – 1800

The Lady Ludlow Collection

European Ceramics to 1900