|Zoological Gardens by James & Ralph Clews, c. 1830 shows the Otter House|
|Source print for the Otter House is from a children's guidebook to the zoo, c. 1830|
|Zoological Gardens Pattern Mark|
In the late 18th century there was a shift from keeping animals to studying them. This change came out of expanding European exploration that made exotic wildlife, both flora and fauna, more accessible. There was enthusiasm on the part of amateur naturalists as well as scholars to produce books depicting the new discoveries, catalog different species, and establish societies and zoos. In England, scientific interest in flora and fauna led to the founding of the London Zoological Society in 1826 and the opening of the London Zoological Gardens in 1828 in Regent's Park.
The potters always tried to capitalize on the latest fashion and passion. The London Zoological Gardens was immensely popular, so the Staffordshire potters copied pictures from books and magazines that showed the early zoo. By the way, the word “zoo” didn’t come into popular parlance until the 1840s (obviously a shortened form of the word zoological).
The photos above show a circa 1830 pattern from James & Ralph Clews' (1813-1834) "Zoological Gardens" on an 8 inch plate. It was copied from a children's guidebook called "Henry And Emma's Visit To The Zoological Gardens, In The Regent's Park," by James Bishop, 1830. The plate is part of a large dinner service that includes many other animals and their zoo enclosures.
By the way, this pattern and many others in the series can be seen in the Pattern and Source Print Database of the Transferware Collectors Club. And, the London Zoo is still located in Regent's Park. However, the large animals live outside of London at the Whipsnade Zoo.