Thursday, January 8, 2015


"Wolverene" 2.25 inch child's mug. 

Many popular 19th century mugs and plates made for children are patterned with animals.  Cats, dogs, cows, lions, etc. form the bulk of the patterns.  However,  some odd animals were chosen.  It is hard to believe that 19th century English children were familiar with wolverines.  (The wolverene, today spelled wolverine, is an animal related to the weasel. It is known for its voracious appetite). The children probably wouldn't know a pintado either.

"Pintado" 5.5 inch plate.  A pintado is also known as a guinea fowl. 

Children's china was intended as a gift as well as a teaching tool.  Perhaps these unusual animals were a jumping off point to engage a child in a discussion about natural history.

"Kinkajou" child's 1.94 inch mug. 

Kinkajous, also known as honey bears, are rainforest mammals related to raccoons. They resemble ferrets or monkeys, but are not related to them.  I have known about kinkajous for about twenty-five years because my vet rescued two of them from an animal shelter.  But, I never heard of them when I was a child.  I guess the potter was desperate to have an unusual animal decorate his pottery. 

Child's 4.6 inch child's plate decorated with a fish
A fish is not an unusual animal, but the above child's plate decorated with a fish is the only fish pattern (on a child's plate) I have seen.  I wonder what kind of fish it is.  If you look closely at the molded border, it appears that a fish shape is among the flowers!

"Short-Tailed Indris" child's 2.06 inch mug
An indris is a large short-tailed lemur of Madagascar. The pattern doesn't particularly look like a lemur. It looks more like a cartoon rat! Or the salivating wolf from a Disney-like cartoon.

"Tatouay" 1.94 inch child's mug
The greater naked-tailed armadillo, cabassous tatouay, is an armadillo species from South America.  It is wondering what it is doing on an early 19th century English child's mug.

"Dusky Wolf" 2 inch child's mug
The dusky wolf or black wolf is not unusual, but I want to show it to you anyway.  This pattern really belongs in my post Inappropriate or Frightening Patterns For Children.  If you look carefully, you'll see that the wolf has its paw on a dead goat! 

"Indian Scenery" 7.5 inch plate showing an anteater surrounded by an vaguely Indian scene.  This pattern is from a dinner service that features different animals on nearly each size and shape.
There are lots of patterns intended for adults that feature unusual animals like the anteater on the plate above, but that is a post for another day. 

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