As a new collector of pottery and porcelain, I have been overwhelmed with the confusing array of producers, history, makers and their marks, background, etc. that surround the vast world of collecting. This is the first book that I have read on the subject that gives me a framework to hang all the details on... exactly what us "big picture" people need to make sense of it all!
The book is organized into 4 parts. "Part 1, Buying and Selling Pottery and Porcelain", describes how to get started with collecting and/or selling. "Part 2, Caring for Your Collection", tells you how to handle security, display, cleaning, restoration, and handling ceramics. "Part 3, Identification", helps you determine what it is that you actually have! This part is extremely helpful to the novice, as it first tells you the different ways to classify ceramics; the differences in pottery, stoneware, porcelain, bone china, etc. and describes different kinds of glazes, the different methods of decoration, the different marks (and fakes!)and how to identify them.
Finally, we get to the meat of the book, "Part 4, Ceramic File". No one could possibly write a book that includes everything that there is to be known on this subject, but this one gives an excellent overview, first by world region (Oriental ceramics, European ceramics, etc.) and then further subdividing each region into different major makers. Each subdivision and maker is described and the history given.
I can't say enough good about this book... everyone interested in collecting pottery and porcelain, novice or expert, should have a copy. The descriptions are accurate and detailed enough without being overwhelming, the photos are supurb, and the choices for illustrating the categories are excellent. Take my advice and buy it!