Tuesday, February 19, 2013


As an English major in college, I studied "The Vicar of Wakefield" and other works by Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774).  Imagine my surprise when I learned that he published an encyclopedia of natural history in 1774 titled "An History of the Earth and Animated Nature."  Although much of his material leaned heavily on the works of others such as Pliny and Buffon, the books (eight volumes) were popular throughout the 19th century.  However, it is not the written work that interests me, but the source prints (pictures).

Lions Pattern

Lions Pattern Center

Lions Pattern Impressed Mark

Lions Pattern Source Prints
The Lions pattern, made by either Benjamin Adams or William Adams I, is copied from two prints in Goldsmith's work.  They are titled "The Lion" and "The Lioness."  The engraver is  J. Scott who copied the  work of the artist S. Edwards.  They are from Goldsmith's 1811 edition.  The pottery pattern combines both the lion and the lioness.  She warns the lion to stay away from her cubs, while he looks embarrassed and wary.  The engraver of the copper plate (from which the pattern for the pottery plate is made) added a large tree (perhaps for the lion to hide behind).  The trees and plants are not very African.  Indeed,  it appears that the poor lions have ended up in the English countryside!

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