Sunday, March 10, 2013


Gien pottery toy children's plates, 4 inches in diameter

Where are you going?

Take this road

Knock, knock

What big ears you have

Gien Mark
My blog is usually devoted to English transferware, but I couldn't resist the addition of these French transferware children's toy plates that depict scenes from the story of "Little Red Riding Hood."  The items are part of a doll or toy service made by the Gien factory (1821 to the present).  The mark was used from 1886 to 1938.

I photographed the plates in their story order; "Ou va tu?" (Where are you going?), "Prends ce chemin" (Take this road), "Toc toc (Knock, knock), "Que vous avez de gdes (sic) oreilles" (What big ears you have).  This last is rather a risque pattern of Little Red in bed with the wolf!  How French! 

The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a favorite of mine.  The little girl is asked to take goodies to her sick grandmother who lives on the other side of the forest (no child would be allowed to go through the woods alone today).  She is warned by her mother not to talk to strangers.  However, the wolf has such good manners that Little Red talks to him and tells him where she is going.  The wolf thinks he will be double lucky and eat both granny and Little Red!  Granny lets the wolf in and he eats her (he pretends to be Little Red).  Little Red thinks granny looks different (the wolf pretends to be granny).  The wolf eats little Red and falls asleep.  A huntsman hears the wolf snoring (the wolf was sleepy after such a big meal).  He kills the wolf and cuts open his stomach.  Out walk Little Red and her grandmother.  This is a fairy tale!  What an excellent opportunity to talk to children about strangers, listening to mama and more.

Children's china patterns were intended to delight and teach.  Here you have both plus a little French.


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