The Scope of the Subject For many people the study of ceramic history conjures up images of products associated with well-known firms such as Wedgwood, Royal Worcester, Spode, Daulton, Sevres or Meissen. Generally located within the field of what is termed the Decorative Arts, research and publication in ceramic history has, until comparatively recently, been dominated by museum curators, collectors and connoisseurs, antique dealers and motivated amateurs. Museums themselves have been traditionally concerned with the development of collections of ceramic artefacts which embody high aesthetic quality and represent the output of distinguished designers and celebrated factories. Enshrined behind. glass in museum cases these exhibits take on the status of art, for they are removed from their original context as objects of practical use or decorative significance in a given historical period. It is, however, very much the understanding and awareness of context that is an essential tool for the prospective student of ceramic history, as it is with any other branch of design history.