H & R Daniel
Makers of the finest late Regency Porcelain
Henry DANIEL 1765 - 1841
Researching the life of Henry Daniel can be rewarding and frustrating in almost equal parts. What we do know is that he was born in 1765 to Thomas and Fanny Daniel. Thomas, locally known as ‘Old Tommy’ was a well known maker and supplier of colours and enamels to many of the potters at that time, and presumably provided Henry with some knowledge of the chemistry required to pursue a similar occupation.
Very little of Henry’s life prior to 1800 has been recorded with any degree of certainty, even his marriage remained a mystery, with his wife only previously being known as Elizabeth until recently when a marriage between a Henry Daniel and an Elizabeth Dyer at Saint Peter’s church in Worcester on 10th August 1795 was discovered. What immediately ‘rang a bell’ with this particular marriage is that Henry Daniel had a grandson, who was born in 1843, and who was named John DYER Daniel.
It was, and to some extent even today still is, a common practise in all the various branches of the Daniel family to include the maiden names of mothers or grandmothers as middle names in later generations, e.g., John COATES Daniel, Richard BRAID Daniel, William FREEMAN Daniel and Richard SYLVESTER Daniel to name but a few of the many maiden names passed down through the family.
Precisely how long Henry resided in Worcester is not known for certain, but which presumably lasted long enough for him to meet and then marry Elizabeth. A connection with Worcester porcelain is now generally accepted, but obviously more research is needed.
When Henry permanently returned to the Stoke-on-Trent area is unclear, but was probably shortly after his marriage. From around 1805 his activities are better documented, and from then he appears to become involved with his father, 'Old Tommy' Daniel, and also entered into the partnership with John Brown who then were supplying Spode, along with several other manufacturers, with enamels. It is this involvement in the partnership that probably introduced Henry to the Spode organisation, however, the Daniel-Brown connection ended in 1806, but leaving Henry with a ‘foot in Spode’s door’. What is well established is that Henry Daniel was an increasingly important figure in the Spode organisation from around that date.
Spode were obviously very major players in the ceramics industry and Henry eventually occupied a unique place within the factory, and it is believed that at one time almost one third of the workforce within the Spode works were employed directly by Henry. The precise date that Henry departed from Spode and set up his new venture producing fine porcelain is now generally considered to be 1822, later he was to be joined in a partnership with his sons, Richard and John, with the company eventually trading under the name H&R Daniel.
This father and son enterprise appears to have progressed reasonable smoothly for the next 15 or so years, but following the death of Elizabeth, Henry’s wife in 1838, the relationship between Henry and Richard deteriorated to such an extent that, following Henry’s death in April 1841, Richard was virtually ignored in Henry’s will, with all of Henry’s personal possessions and the companies assets being passed on the Richard’s siblings – Thomas, John and Ann.
Of some interest is the fact that on Henry’s death certificate for 14th April 1841, Nancy Hughes, Inmate, was present at time of death. Could the word ‘Inmate’ possibly point to Henry Daniel’s final days being in some type of medical institution?
The enormity of Henry Daniel’s contribution to the design and style of ceramics in the first half of the 19th century is well recorded, and none better than by Michael Berthoud in his book, H&R Daniel, 1822-1846.