Friday, May 22, 2020


"Present from New York" 2.5 inch mug, ca. 1825, maker unknown.

I saw this small mug at an antiques fair many years ago. I liked the horse, but liked the text, "Present from New York," even more.  When I was a child, I was used to getting glass flamingos from my grandparents when they visited Florida, or a box of salt water taffy when they returned from Atlantic City.  However, they never brought me a pearlware mug that said "Present from Miami Beach." I wondered if there was a mug that said "Present from Philadelphia," which is my home town.  I did find a Philadelphia mug, but unfortunately, it wasn't for sale.

"Present from Philadelphia" 2.25 inch mug. The bird is goldfinch.

Now that I knew there were two mugs, I searched for others.  I found three more.

"Present from Delaware" 2.5 inch mug

"Present from Carolina" 2 inch mug

"Present from Boston" 2 inch mug

I have found three cities and two states, although Carolina could be either North Carolina or South Carolina. (By the way, all five of these mugs are in the Transferware Collectors Club Database.)  In the last twenty-five years, I haven't found another.  Do you know of any?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


by David Hoexter and Judie Siddall

Parts of plates plastered to a wall in the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner in India.

Notwithstanding the title of this blog, we (Judie and David) are not going to discuss the current health emergency. We are only going to say that we hope all of our transferware friends are staying healthy and are following expert advice, in particular, isolate and stay at home if at all possible! And, wash your hands!

But we do want to tell you about what we are doing while we isolate. As previously disclosed (see the March 2020 post), we were recently in India (our trip ended on March 4, just in the nick of time). We are truly thankful we were able to make the trip, one of those "once in a lifetime" events, although perhaps we will be fortunate enough to return. Also, as previously disclosed in the earlier post, we visited the extraordinary Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, west Rajasthan, where we observed early to mid-19th century English transferware attached (literally plastered) to both interior and exterior walls at four locations.

A host of transferware drainers plastered to a wall in the Junagarh Fort. The areas between the drainers are smaller pieces of transferware plates (or other pottery items). The drainers at the bottom of the wall are Chinese Export. Click on the photo to make it larger.

A number of our 13 member group photographed the transferware. We had little time and poor lighting conditions, and one of the four locations is high on a wall, with most of the transferware at least 15 to 20 feet above the adjacent ground. So the images are less than perfect. But, nevertheless, we were able to document the displays.

The surround of this window is composed of parts of transferware plates. Click on the photo to make it larger.

But now, the real work has begun, and this is how the Coronavirus gets involved. We are utilizing our enforced isolation to identify as many of the transferware patterns as we can. It's a challenge, particularly as the pieces range from nearly whole to only a small part of the original piece. (It's a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.) All the items are flatware of some sort, primarily drainers, but also plates and platters. A few of the patterns are just a maker's mark or other symbols. There are no indications that any of the pieces are tiles.

Willow drainer surrounded by Willow shards. You can see bits of other drainers that abut the center Willow drainer.

Thus far, we (with help from others) have identified 91patterns. We have at least 15 to 20 yet unidentified. There is some notable overlap of patterns between the three primary locations (the fourth location, which we call the Blue Room, has a large volume of Willow, but little else in terms of transferware, although it demonstrates exquisite Indian tiles, sculpture, and painting). The patterns include a large variety of pattern categories and makers, as well as age of production. Included in the 91 so far identified patterns (primarily transferware) are three Chinese export drainers, and we also have two painted creamware patterns, not yet identified.

Shown is a painted creamware drainer. Possibly Wedgwood. Notice all of the surrounding transferware bits and pieces.

Well, we can't help one little connection between Coronavirus and transferware. And it is minimal, to say the least. We searched the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources for patterns which exhibited illness in humans (thus the Coronavirus connection). The current database count is 16, 232 (April 14, 2020). We found just one pattern "Virginia Attending the Sick." There are a few related subjects (mainly death), and a number whose subject is hospitals (but these are primarily actual historical buildings). And, there are a few showing sick animals. Our meager findings are shown below.

William Smith (& Co.) 1825-1855 "Virginia attending the Sick Poor" 6.6 inch plate

"The Orphan Child" 7.44 inch plate by an unknown maker, ca. 1830

Ralph Stevenson (& Son) 1810-1835 "Hospital Boston" 9 inch plate, ca. 1825

Scott (1800-1897) "The Sick Donkey" 7.5 inch plate, ca. 1840

We do plan to publish our identifications of all of the patterns, as well as further research and findings. Stay tuned. It may take awhile.

Lots of patterns to identify! Notice the hand painting between the drainers. Sometimes there is hand-painting and sometimes there are small pieces of transferware plastered between larger pieces. See the Willow drainer photo above.

Monday, March 9, 2020


Guest post by David Hoexter

Transferware decorating a wall in the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Notice that many of the pieces used are drainers.

TCC members can access an article written for the TCC Bulletin by Sue and Frank Wagstaff: 2015 Vol. XVI No. 2, "Return to Bikaner."

Close up of one of the transferware drainers. The pattern is known as "The Cowman."

Many of the transferware items used to cover this wall are drainers.

A transferware alcove.

Transferware Collectors Club members enjoying the transferware.

Dick Henrywood photographing the transferware.

A close up of the wall above.

A pigeon enjoying the transferware!

Transferware surrounding a window.

A close up of the top of the window surround.

Aerial view of the fort (source Google Earth).

View of the facade of the castle within the fort (source Wikipedia).

David in front of a transferware decorated wall.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

DORA LANDEY 1936-2020

Dora when she was a young actress.

I met Dora in 1993 because a friend gave me a copy of a magazine that had an article about transferware. She said the pictures reminded her of the pottery I had in my house. I called the phone number at the end of the article, which was for Dora Landey Antiques. I thought I would buy a few pieces of tranferware, but from the moment I spoke to Dora we bonded over our lives more than pottery: children, husbands, animals, the East Coast and much more. Our friendship was immediate and deep. (I've always believed that a close friendship can begin like a love affair.)  We spoke often on the phone before we met in person in the summer of 1994 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Since 1994, we saw each other nearly every year, even though we were separated by the continent between New York and California.

Dora's loves were many, but she loved her family most of all: daughters Yummy, Nina, and Anna, and her six grandchildren. She also loved her friends, her dogs (she had five when I first visited her her), her house (a wonderful old farmhouse), and her blue pottery. Dora started her business, Dora Landey Antiques, in the late '80s or early '90s.  She sold in shops and at shows, and continued to sell blue pottery from Ruby Lane Antiques and on eBay until her untimely death on January 25, 2020.

Dora at the 2018 TCC Show and Sale in Warwick, Rhode Island

Dora is survived by her children, Yummy Helmes (David) and Nina Landey (Jodie), and her six grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter Anna.

Dora lived her life fully. She stayed in her own house, enjoyed her family and friends, and sold transferware until a few days before her death. We should all be so lucky.

One more thing. Below is a photo of one of the many beautiful rooms in Dora's house. Beautiful and comfortable like Dora.

Rest in Peace dear friend.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Plate, 4.5 inches, titled "Self Accusation." The maker is unknown.

I really like learning new things from transferware patterns. I recently purchased a small plate that features a man with one leg asking for charity from a stout man who refuses him. The bubbles above them say: "Please to bestow your Charity" and "Friend I have it not." The title of the pattern is "Self Accusation."*  The eBay dealer from whom I purchased the plate included a copy of the source print, which greatly aided in understanding the pattern. The source print is also titled: "Self Accusation," and the subtitle, not seen here, is: "A Quaker outside a meeting house refuses charity to an amputee." Notice the words "Meeting House" on the building, which indicate a Quaker house of worship.

Self Accusation by William Pickering (1796-1854)

Even before seeing the source print, I wasn't surprised that the stout man was a Quaker as his hat and dress resembled the clothing of William Penn, a man whose image was everywhere in Pennsylvania where I grew up. William Penn, as you may remember, was the Quaker who founded the colony of Pennsylvania (Latin for Penn's Woods). Pennsylvania became the home of many Quakers seeking religious freedom.

William Penn (1644-1718)

I think the print, both on paper and on pottery, shows not so subtle prejudice against English Quakers. They were disliked because they had different religious and other beliefs; they had no priest or ministers, and they refused to fight in wars. Perhaps they were also disliked because some were successful in business. The prejudice is not unlike that against the English Jews. The Jews also practiced a different religion, although they were not adverse to military service. Read about the history of the Jews in England here.

Plate, 6.38 inches, made by Thomas Brough (1816-1822).

"The Jews Hobby" is part of a series that pokes fun at the new, in the early 19th century, craze of hobby riding (similar to a bicycle, but without pedals). However, the man with the hooked nose looks to me like a caricature that would have been at home in Nazi Germany. I have written about this pattern before. See "Caricature and Humor on Transferware or Prejudice?"

I digress.  So, what did I learn from the transferware patterns above? These small inexpensive plates with molded borders, usually associated with children's patterns, were sometimes used to feature political cartoons. Some could also spread prejudice.

*What does "self accusation" mean? It means an admission of misdeeds or faults, usually stemming from feelings of guilt.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Is the mug in the middle a porringer or a posset Cup?

Porringer, 2.5 wide by 2.5 inches high

I have written about this cup before.  I thought it was a posset cup, but now I think it is a porringer.*  I have read that the porringer evolved from the posset cup, and that they were very similar. The main difference is that a posset cup usually has a cover while the porringer usually does not. That said, the small size of the cup, 2.5 inches high by 2.5 inches in diameter, suggests an ornamental gift or token rather than one intended for use. It was probably given by a loving grandmother to celebrate the birth of a grandchild. Or, perhaps, a gift for a Christening.

The side view of the porringer shows the handle.
I thought I'd show you some other ceramic porringers, so you can compare the shape.

Shown is an 18th century Staffordshire porringer from the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.

Shown is an English porringer (1800-1850)  from the Detroit Institute of Art.

Here's another pot with the same message, "A Grandmothers (sic) Gift," as the first cup I showed you. The shape, however, is like a miniature potty! As it is only 2.5 inches high by 1.75 inches in diameter, it was not intended to be used as a real potty. Instead, it is a humorous gift or token.

Miniature token in the shape of a potty
Miniature token in the shape of a potty

But, is it a porringer? No. However, it is a gift from a loving grandmother.

I have shown you the photo below in another post, "A Grandmother's Gift and Transferware." I am just adding it here so you can see the porringer with a plate and a mug. The message transcends shape and size.  Does it really matter if the shape is a mug, a plate, a porringer, a posset cup, or a potty? Or, does it matter if it is intended for use?

Did Grandfathers give ceramic gifts too? Of course! Although I couldn't find a porringer with this message, I did find the mug below.

Shown is a child's mug, ca. 1820

*Almost the end. I want to thank Sue Wagstaff and Gaye Blake-Roberts for suggesting that the mug, "A Grandmother's Gift," which I brought to the Transferware Collectors Club 2019 Annual Meeting in Birmingham, was actually a porringer. I am always learning something new!

One more thing. What is a porringer? Used for porridge of course! I have meandered as usual.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


I thought this small item, 1.75 inches high, was a napkin ring.  I did some research and discovered that it is called an egg hoop or egg ring.  The opening at one end is larger than the other end to accommodate both large and small eggs.

Egg Hoop, 1.75 inches high by 2 inches in diameter on one side and 1.5 inches in diameter on the other side. It is printed in a variation of the Tea Party pattern. Notice that the hoop has an indented "waist."

Two inch opening at one end of the egg hoop accommodates large eggs. Notice that this opening is flared, while the opening at the other end is straight.

Smaller 1.5 inch opening on the other side of the hoop accommodates small eggs.

This egg hoop is printed with one of the many tea party patterns.* Although the pattern is a bit blurred, you can see the man and the woman sitting at the tea table.

The other side of the egg hoop features a building. Anyone know what it is?

The pattern wraps around the egg hoop. There are trees and bushes, as well as this unidentified building.

Below is the egg hoop holding a large egg. When the egg is cooked, the top of the egg can be removed so that that the egg can be eaten from the shell with an egg spoon (small spoon).

Is an egg cup the same as an egg hoop? I have written about egg cups in a previous post. Take a look at the post to find out.

Can an egg hoop be used as a napkin ring? Why not!

Egg hoop used as a napkin ring. Why not! I guess I would need more than one. Oh well.

 *Below is a version of the Tea Party pattern. There are many versions of the Tea Party Pattern in the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources.

William Smith (&Co.) 1825-1855 "No. 3" saucer printed with the Tea Drinker or Tea Party pattern, ca. 1830.