Monday, September 18, 2017


Early 19th century gifts of affection.

I have always loved early 19th century ceramic tokens of affection.  In particular, I love the transferware plates and mugs intended for children because at a time when life, particularly a child's life, was so fragile there is a poignancy attached to every ceramic plate or mug.  There are many patterns in the Children's Subjects/Gifts For Good Children category in the Transferware Collectors Club database, but I thought I'd focus on patterns that were from and for family members.

Child's shell-edge 5.25 inch plate, "From an Affectionate Mother," ca. 1820.

Child's 2.25 inch mug "From Affectionate Parents," ca. 1820-30.

Child's 2.06 inch mug "A Grandfather's Gift."

Child's 2 inch mug "A Grandmother's Gift."

Child's 2.23 inch mug "Gift From A Sister."

Child's 5.25 inch plate "A Mothers (sic) Gift."

Child's 4.5 inch plate "A Present from my Uncle."

Child's 4.2 inch plate "For my Neice (sic)."

Child's 2.5 inch mug "A Present for my Neice (sic)."
Child's mug, size unknown, "A Present for my Nephew."

The last photo shows a tricky inscription: "For My Favourite."  I suggest that there is only a favorite child when there is only one child!  Perhaps this plate was intended as a love token.  Are there ceramic love tokens?  Take a look at my blog post "Ceramic Valentines."

Child's 5.25 inch plate "For My Favourite."

Monday, September 4, 2017


Davenport (1794-1887) "Scotts Illustrations Bride of Lammermoor" 17.25 inch platter, ca. 1835.

I recently was in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the opera.  I went to five operas in five days: Lucia Di Lammermoor, Die Fledermaus, Alcina,The Golden Cockerel, and the world premier of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.  I enjoyed them all, even the three and a half hour Alcina, but I liked the Steve Jobs opera the best.  However, I digress, as this is a transferware blog, not an opera blog.

I already knew that Lucia di Lammermoor appeared on transferware.  The patterns are not based on the opera, but on the 1819 Sir Walter Scott novel "The Bride of Lammermoor" on which the opera is based.  Scott's novel was a best seller, so it made sense for Donizetti to capitalize on it.  The story includes young lovers from feuding families (think Romeo and Juliet), lots of sturm und drang, and many deaths.  (Great action for a 19th century Romantic opera!)  The title of the transferware series is "Scotts Illustrations," of which the "Bride of Lammermoor" is one.  The series was made by Davenport (1794-1887) around 1835.  Davenport also capitalized on a sure thing.

Davenport "Scotts (sic) Illustrations" mark for "Bride of Lammermoor."  I didn't include all the marks for the other patterns seen below,  but they are the same as the mark above except for the name of the book represented by the scene.  The individual scenes from the novels are not noted.

There are other patterns in the "Scotts Illustrations" series that illustrate the group of Scott's novels released from 1814-1832.  "Waverley" was the first, so the novels are known as the the "Waverley Novels." Here are some of the pottery examples.  All  of the pottery photos are from the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources.

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Waverley" 10.5 inch plate

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Waverley" mark

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Waverley" 7.75 inch plate

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Rob Roy" sauce tureen stand
Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Heart of Midlothian" sauce tureen

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Heart of Midlothian" mark

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Bride of Lammermoor" 12.25 inch platter

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Bride of Lammermoor" 19.88 inch well and tree platter

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Legend of Montrose" 9 inch plate

Davenport "Scotts Illustrations Legend of Montrose" mark

I never know when something is going to remind me of transferware.  I just never expected it to be an opera!

The Santa Fe opera house is outdoors!

One more thing. If you want to know more about the magnificent Santa Fe Opera, follow this link.