Thorley’s meticulous records reveal that over the years he experimented with many different glazes, most of which he developed. Williamsburg’s Craft House asked Thorley to reproduce the eighteenth-century tin-glazed earthenware plate seen here, marked “GR” for King George I. No commercially available glaze produced the same opaque white that Thorley wanted so he started from scratch. The small shards with pictures and numerical notations in blue show his careful experimenting process. The failed glaze on the tiny vase seen here “crawled” over the surface leaving some areas of the piece unglazed. Once he perfected his formula, Thorley made imitations of the historic “GR” plate as well as Dutch-style tin-glaze earthenware tiles.

Tiny Vase with Crawling Glaze, ca. 1955
Three Delft Fragments
“GR” Plate, 1714-1721
Maker Unknown
London, England
Tin-glazed earthenware
Lent by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 1937-181
“GR” Plate, ca.1955
Tiles, 1942-55

Plate, ca. 1955