Thursday, April 3, 2014


Joseph is an important person in the Old Testament as he connects the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan to the subsequent story of Moses and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. (See what I have written about Moses here).

The story of Joseph is the Biblical story that appears most often on 19th century children's pottery.  There are two major Joseph series: Sacred History of Joseph and his Brethren and History of Joseph as well as individual patterns on cups and plates.  I have always loved the story of Joseph: his coat of many colors, his interpretation of dreams,  his brothers' jealousy (they wanted to kill him! they sell him!),  his success in Egypt, his forgiveness of his brothers.  The story was meaningful to me when I was a child.  It still is.

I was lucky to buy 11 plates in the Sacred History of Joseph and his Brethren series a few years ago.  I thought I would share them with you. ( I have added a twelfth pattern that I found later).  There is no pattern that shows Joseph and his coat of many colors, which to me is the impetus for the whole Joseph story.  If Jacob hadn't shown such favoritism to Joseph (the son of his beloved Rachel), Joseph's brothers would not have hated him.  Of course, they also hated him for his dreams, which do appear on the plates.

Read the Story of Joseph here. 

Joseph's First Dream

Joseph's Second Dream

Reuben interceding with his Brethren for the Life of Joseph

Joseph sold by his Brethren to the Ishmeelites (I love the large camels)

Portiphar's Wife falsely accusing Joseph

Joseph interpreting the Dreams of Pharaohs (sic) Chief Butler and Baker

Joseph interpreting Pharaohs (sic) Dreams

Josephs (sic) Brethren Applying to him for Corn in the time of Famine/You can see that this plate is from the same series, but has an alphabet molded border and added color.
Judah resigning himself and his Brethren into the hands of Joseph

Joseph making himself known to his Brethren

Joseph meeting with Jacob his Father

Joseph introducing his Father and five Brethren unto Pharaoh


  1. This is a set that I know well - they must have been very popular because we see these often. I wonder if these 12 prints make a complete set?

    1. I don't know if twelve makes a complete set, but these are the only patterns I have seen. I wonder if a child was given all twelve, or if he or she received only one. I have often wondered this about sets. I can't imagine that a child was given an entire alphabet set for example.

  2. I was interested to see the Joseph plates. I have a mug with the design Reuben interceeding with his brothers on one side and Joseph sold by his brothers to the Ishmelites on the other side. Thought this might be on interest to you

  3. Thanks! I didn't know the patterns were also on mugs. I am assuming they are the same patterns as the ones on the plates.

  4. Hi Judie,
    I have one of these plates, and I was wondering how much these plates cost and do you know anything about the manufacturer?
    Thanks in advance :)

  5. Hi Azim,

    I don't know the exact value of a plate in this series, but I have paid between $50 and $100 dollars. The patterns were made by more than one factory, and the Transferware Collectors Club database shows two patterns marked by Thomas Fell & Co. (1817-1890) and one marked R. A. Kidston & Co. (1835-1845). Most of the patterns are unmarked.

  6. Hi I have one of these plates also, mine though has the picture and writing in black and has Fell and co. as the maker. Can anyone confirm whether this is an authentic reproduction? Mine is the one where Joseph is sold to the Ishmaelites by his brothers (brethren).

  7. Hello,
    I have also one plate joseph meeting his brethren in colour. My father his father had got is during the britisch colonie in India now its mine. I wonder how much it can cost its more than 150 years this plate.

  8. While I don't know the value of your plate, I have seen other plates in the series for sale between $45 and $100. You are lucky to own a family treasure!