Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This is the third post about the "Quadrupeds" series and its source prints.  The first two posts illustrate patterns that were copied from the books of natural history by John Church and Samuel Howitt  This post shows one of the patterns copied from Thomas Bewick's book "A General History of Quadrupeds (1790)." 

The animal is a striped hyena.  It appears on the 4 inch cup plate which isn't big enough to include animals in the border.  
"Quadrupeds" 4" cup plate, Hyena

Close-up of the "Quadrupeds" Hyena cup plate

Source print of "The Striped Hyena" from "A General History of Quadrupeds" by Thomas Bewick

"Quadrupeds" Mark

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I wrote an article for the Transferware Collectors Club Bulletin titled "Inappropriate Patterns For Children." It describes and illustrates 19th century plates and mugs with patterns that 21st century adults might think twice about giving to children.  See the link here,   I recently purchased a child's mug that features what I thought was another inappropriate pattern.  The black transferware print shows a large tabby cat on top of its kill, a huge rat!  Another rat is shown escaping.  The text says "A Present For A Good Girl."  Is this a gift you would give to your loved little girl?  I asked my three year old granddaughter if she liked the pattern.  She thought the pussy cat was hugging the rat (or mousie).  There are many ways of looking at the same thing.
"A Present For A Good Girl" 3 inch by 3 inch 19th century child's mug 

"A Present For A Good Girl" Close-up

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I mentioned in my post titled "Quadrupeds and Source Prints,",  that the engravers for John Hall's "Quadrupeds" copied patterns from books on natural history.  They also copied engravings that Samuel Howitt (1756-1822) made for a book of Aesop's Fables.  The only example of this that I have found so far is on the 9.75 inch soup plate that features a Tibetian (sic) musk deer in the center.

"Quadrupeds" 9.75 inch soup plate with a musk deer at the center

The musk deer is, however, copied from "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church (refer to the above link to learn more about this book), but all of the border vignettes illustrate a fable by Aesop.

First, we will look at the center pattern.  The animal has been confused with a llama, but it is actually a Tibetian musk deer.  The things coming out of its mouth are small tusks.  Obviously, it is native of Tibet. 
"Quadrupeds" center pattern, "Tibetian Musk"

"Tibetian Musk" source print for the "Quadrupeds" soup plate, engraved for "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church, 1805
Located in the top cartouche is an illustration from the fable "The Stag in the Lion's Den."  Next, moving clockwise,  are "The Fighting Bulls and the Frogs," "The Fox and the Tiger," and "The Horse and the Wild Boar."  All are copied from Samuel Howitt's engravings.  All illustrate a fable by Aesop.

"Quadrupeds" border cartouche, "The Stag in the Lion's Den"

"The Stag in the Lion's Den" engraved by Samuel Howitt

"Quadrupeds" border cartouche, "The Fighting Bulls and the Frogs"

"The Fighting Bulls and the Frogs" engraved by Samuel Howitt

"Quadrupeds" border cartouche, "The Fox and the Tiger"

"The Fox and the Tiger" engraved by Samuel Howitt

"Quadrupeds" cartouche "The Horse and the Wild Boar"

"The Horse and the Wild Boar" engraved by Samuel Howitt

Monday, May 20, 2013


In conjunction with my last post about the "Quadrupeds" pattern which features an elephant printed on transferware,,  I thought I would show two more transferware elephant patterns which used the same source print from "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church.  As opposed to the John Hall "Quadrupeds" elephant, both Wood and Meigh have retained the handler from the source print.

Enoch Wood & Sons (1818-1846) created a large dinner service in the 1820s known as the "Sporting Series."   It features a different animal on nearly every size and shape.  Below is the 15 inch platter.

Job Meigh & Son (1805-1834) made a large dinner service around 1830 titled "Zoological Sketches."  It is printed in blue or black and also features a different animal on each size and shape.  Below is the 21 inch platter.

Friday, May 17, 2013


The "Quadrupeds" series by the Staffordshire potter John Hall (1814-1832) is filled with animals.  There is a center pattern as well as different animal scenes in the border cartouches.   Rarely are there any duplications of animals in either the center or the border on any of the sizes and shapes in the dinner service.  The Pattern and Source Print Database of the Transferware Collectors Club documents 18 center patterns.  Multiply the number 18 by  4 (animals in the border cartouches) and you get 72.  When you add the 18 center animals, you get 90.*

As the editor of the Animals category for the Transferware Collectors Club, I have a great interest in knowing the names of the animals.  This is not always easy.  Luckily, most of the animal patterns were copied by the Staffordshire and other British potters from popular 19th century books on natural history. 

In this post, I am focusing on the "Quadrupeds" 18 inch by 15 inch platter. 

The center animal is obviously an elephant, but it took me awhile to find the source print.  It is from "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church (published in 1805).   The elephant is missing his handler and the vaguely Indian scene acts as camouflage, but this is the same elephant.

I looked in "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" for the border animals before I checked Thomas Bewick's "A General History of Quadrupeds" (1791) or Samuel Howitt's engravings for a book of Aesop's Fables (publication date unknown to me).  Both of the aforementioned books were used by John Hall for the "Quadrupeds" series.  I found the platter's cartouche animals in "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds."

The cartouche at the top of the platter shows a tiger and a nylghau deer. They are separate engravings in "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds," but were stuck together on the platter. 

Moving clockwise, the second cartouche shows a racehorse and jockey.  I don't consider a racehorse an exotic animal.

The next shows a leopard who appears ready to spring on its prey!

The last illustrates two reindeer, one of which is pulling a sleigh.

I will eventually figure out the names and source prints for all the animals in the other "Quadrupeds" patterns, but that is a job for another day.

* The number of border cartouches varies depending on the size of the item.  Some of the smaller plates have only three border cartouches and the cup plate (Hyena) has none.  You may already have noticed that one of the cartouches above contains two animals in one border!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Another of my many favorite patterns is the one known as "Dog in a Cradle".  It was made by both Andrew Stevenson (1810-1827) and James and Ralph Clews (1813-1834).  It is printed in dark blue with a charming scene of a baby and a dog sitting in a cradle while an older brother and sister rock them.  There was some confusion as to what the baby was actually sitting in, but I have owned a few late 18th century ceramic cradles (c1770-c.1810), so I knew the dog and baby were sitting in a wicker cradle. 
Dog and Baby in a Cradle by James & Ralph Clews, circa 1825
As much as I like the transferware pattern, this is also a post about 18th and early 19th century ceramic cradles.  According to Maurice and Evelyn Milbourn, who wrote "Understanding Miniature British Pottery and Porcelain" in 1983, ceramic cradles were possibly used as wedding gifts.  They may have contained a little salt and a piece of coal so that the symbolism would be that the newly married couple would have children and never be without food or heat.  The other hypothesis is that the cradle was used as "wrapping" for a baby or christening gift. 

Late 18th century British green glazed earthenware cradle
I particularly like the Milbournes' writing.  Here is an example from the end of the section on cradles; "It is worth noting that all of these cradles are in pottery, and that no porcelain  examples have been encountered.  The immediate implication is that the nobility and gentry would not use them for presenting their silver spoon or other christening gift, but that the potters were once again aiming at the newly-developed middle classes.  The cradles were probably cheap enough to be thrown away, as we do Christmas wrappings, but we are grateful that some at least were kept to remind us of a charming custom when so many infants had no more than a tenuous grip on life."

Friday, May 10, 2013



As the co-editor of Children's Subjects for the Transferware Collector's Club,, I have entered lots of 19th century children's plates and mugs that celebrate mothers and grandmothers, but no great grandmothers.  At a time when women were old at forty and near death (or dead) at fifty, great grandmothers were in short supply.  The Staffordshire potters would have been wasting money making plates and mugs with poems about great grandmothers!

Luckily, times have changed.  There are many great grandmothers.   My granddaughter, Maya, has two great grandmothers; Libby (my mother) who is 92 and Mary (David's mother) who is 90.  Both are in good health and live independently. They see Maya often and have lots of love to give her.

Mary Hoexter (L) and Libby Rudolph
Below are a few plates and mugs that were intended to remind children of their wonderful mothers and grandmothers.  The pictures and rhymes were copied from popular books of poetry for children from the early 19th century.  "My Mother" was a poem written by Ann Taylor (1762-1866), who with her sister, Jane, is famous for writing the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." (The music is by Mozart).   "My Grandmother" was written by William Upton.  The illustrations are taken from a picture sheet that was used to make a jigsaw puzzle.  The picture sheet was printed by William Darton in London in 1812.

Plate 6 inches, circa 1820, "Who ran to help me when I fell/And would some pretty story tell/Or kiss the place to make it well/MY MOTHER"

Plate, 7.5 inches, circa 1820,  "Who dress'd my doll in clothes so gay/And taught me pretty how to play/And minded all I had to say/My Mother" and "When thou art feeble old and grey/My healthy arm shall be thy stay/And I will sooth thy pain away, My Mother."

Plate 7.44 inches, circa 1820,  "Who sat and watch'd my infant head/When sleeping on my little bed/And tears of sweet affection shed/MY MOTHER"

Mug, 2 inches high,  "A Grandmother's Gift", circa 1820

Plate,  6 inches, circa 1820, "Who took me in a Coach to ride/because I griev'd when Puggy died/And brought me Sugarplums beside/MY GRANDMOTHER"

Plate 6 inches, circa 1820, "The Presents/Who came to see me far and near/With cakes and Toys throughout the year/And called me her sweet little dear/MY GRANDMOTHER"

Sadly, there are no plates or mugs celebrating great grandmothers (at least not from the 19th century).

Monday, May 6, 2013


It looked like a ceramic submarine that a child could use in the bathtub.  However, it predated submarines (it had an early 19th century pearlware glaze), so I needed to guess again.  It was approximately 6.25 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide.  Perhaps the 1 inch hole at the top was used for putting something in?  Perhaps the tiny hole at the tip was for drinking?
I learned the oddly shaped object was an infant feeder.  The liquid (breast milk hopefully) would have been put into the large hole at the top and secured with a cloth or cork stopper.  Some sort of nipple (cloth or leather) might be attached to the spout.  I worried that the small hole would be hard to clean, which could result in infection.   I also wondered why the babies weren't being breast fed, but many women did die in childbirth in the nineteenth century or shortly after from infection.  Hopefully, the infant feeders weren't used very often.

Ceramic Baby feeder circa 1830, 6.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide

Ceramic Baby Feeder circa 1830 (same one as above, but a different angle)

Ceramic Baby Feeder circa 1840, 8 inches long by 3.5 inches wide

Ceramic Baby Feeder circa 1840, 8 inches long by 3.5 inches wide (same one as above, but a different angle)

I had to remove links to a wonderful feeder website, as it is no longer operational.  Oh well.

Friday, May 3, 2013


My son and daughter-in-law, Jonas and Rachel Halpren, have a blog called "Drink of the Week."   Jonas has also written a book with Marcia Simmons called "DIY Cocktails," (available on Amazon).   My daughter-in-law is studying to be a  sommelier (wine steward and expert).  I can't drink alcohol without getting sick, and I don't particularly like the taste (even wine).  Jonas has no interest in transferware, although my daughter-in-law seems to like it (she is very polite about my passion).  So, when I mentioned that there is a transferware pattern that celebrates wine making,  Jonas and I saw this as a mother-son bonding moment!

The pattern below is known as "The Winemakers," but a  good case is made in the Friends of Blue Bulletin 134, p. 4 by Roger Pomfret that the name is actually "Wine Press."  He says "Wine Press" is the name of one of the engraved patterns mentioned in the sale advertisement of the John Benton Bagster factory (1823-1827).  The very unusual subject matter leaves little doubt that this is the "The Winemaker's" pattern and that the maker is Bagster.

The Winemakers or Wine Press Pattern 9.5 inches squarish, c. 1825

The Winemakers Close-up

The Winemakers Border

The classical scene on the vegetable tureen is as follows. A man stands inside a large wooden vat and accepts a basket of grapes from a classically dressed woman.  He is stomping on the grapes and the juice is coming out of a hole into a half barrel at the bottom of the vat.   Two more women carry baskets of grapes on their heads and a child carries a small basket in his arms.  Another man readies a large wooden mug to capture some juice.  A large grapevine climbs a tree in the center of the scene,  and the border is comprised of grape leaves, grapes and wheat.  The inner stringing (pattern that separates the central pattern from the border) resembles wine glasses (but that could be my overheated imagination).

Although this pattern is on a vegetable tureen, it also appears on a wine cooler (how appropriate!) as well as all of the items one would see in a dinner service (plates, platters, etc.).

This is one of my favorite patterns.  I hope Jonas and Rachel like it too!

DIY Cocktails and transferware look well together

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I wondered about the purpose of the mug with the funnel I had on a shelf.  I learned it was known as a spitting cup, spitting pot or lady's spittoon.    The spittoon is approximately 4.5 inches by 3.25 inches, and could easily be mistaken for a mug if it didn't have its funnel (it actually is a mug without its funnel).  Although I wondered if ladies in the 19th century had more need to spit than ladies today, I think they may have used the spittoon to get rid of the tobacco or snuff they chewed or the blood from tuberculosis.  I really know little about it.  Please let me know if you have more information.

The spitting cup below was made at the Bovey Tracey Potteries (1842-1957).  It is titled "The Gem," and shows different images that illustrate the four seasons; ice skating for Winter and raking in a field for Summer are shown here.  "The Gem" was made in the mid-nineteenth century, but I found a lovely Wedgwood "Water Lily" example, circa 1810-1815, in the Friends of Blue "True Blue" book (illustrated on p. 129 (17) and discussed on p. 84 (17). 

Spitting cups were made in other shapes.  Here is a link to one in the Spode Online Exhibit:

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, "The Gem" circa 1850/I used tape to keep the lid on 

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, Winter View

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, Summer View

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup with View of the Funnel
Spitting Cup, possibly Minton

Spitting Cup View of Funnel

Spitting Cup and Funnel