Thursday, January 22, 2015


Purple printed sheet pattern jug with added color, ca. 1845/Notice the molded face on the spout

According to The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery 1780-1880, a sheet pattern is "A pattern which repeats the same motifs all over so that it can be used on any shape without engraving several different copper plates.  These designs are sometimes referred to as all-over patterns.  For reasons of simplicity and economy the technique was very commonly used for toy dinner services."  I am going to add jugs and other items intended for adults.   What you see above are three sides of a purple printed jug that illustrate how a sheet pattern can accommodate hollow items.  There is no need for any careful placement of the pattern.  The photo below shows how a sheet pattern, "Dragon," can accommodate items of different shapes and sizes.

See how the same "Dragon" pattern was used on different sizes and shapes.  The bowl is 10 inches in diameter, the tray is 11 inches wide and the cup plate is 3.5 inches (only room for one dragon).

Because many of the patterns are floral, they are also referred to as chintz patterns.  Some of the pattern names actually use the word "chintz."

"Royal Chintz" by Zachariah Boyle & Son (1823-1850) and "Victoria Chintz" maker unknown
 Here are a few more lovely sheet patterns on jugs.

Sheet, all over or chintz pattern jugs

There is an excellent post about sheet patterns in Pam Woolliscroft's  Spode History blog.  Pam illustrates and lists many Spode sheet patterns, including Sunflower (also known as Convolvulus).  She says:  "Some of the designs from Spode were known as sheet patterns. A sheet pattern is a design which is not engraved to specifically ‘fit’ different objects. Perhaps only three or four engravings are needed for a whole range of tableware and toilet ware." 

Spode "Sunflower" pattern (also known as Convolvulus) 18.75 inch platter/Notice that there is no need for an extra transfer for the border as the pattern covers the whole platter.

Another sheet pattern is Grape.   Spode made this pattern, but the one below is from an unknown  factory.

"Grape" pattern platter by an unknown maker

Or this stunning early Minton sheet pattern platter.

 Minton sheet pattern 20.5 inches by 16 inches platter.  The pattern is known as Star.
Since sheet patterns were less expensive to make, they were often used on children's items.

Doll plates, 3.25 inches.  Notice how the pattern has the same elements, but placement is different on each plate.

And for very large utilitarian items.

The bath jug is 18 inches to the top of the handle and 33 inches in diameter at its largest point.  The small jug is 8.25 inches to the top of the handle.  The bath jug has an extra handle (known as a lug handle) because of its weight when filled with water.

Items with sheet patterns may have been less expensive to make, but they lost nothing in beauty.

A bouquet of sheet pattern jugs

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