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).


  1. Lovely photographs. The two illustrations of "My Grandmother" are from copper-engraved (usually hand-coloured) picture sheets originally printed for William Darton and published sometime between February and May 1812. There were usually six pictures per sheet. The two illustrations you have here are the 2nd and the 6th from the sheet titled "My Grandmother, by Mr Upton." The 1992 exhibition at the Lilly Library (catalogued by Linda David) is a valuable reference of the children's books published by the Darton family. A number of these engravings found their way onto ceramics via transferware.

    1. Thank you for the information about the Lilly catalog. I am looking at it right now!

  2. I hope you don't mind but I have used your last image above in a new post on my blog at

  3. I just signed up to follow your blog. I love your writing. If you haven't already seen it, take a look at my post titled "Inappropriate Or Frightening Patterns For Children,"