Sunday, August 25, 2013


The antiques dealer told me it was a posy vase.  I learned it is also known as a pouch vase.  The shape looked a bit formal for a posy, but I liked it.

Posy vases come in different sizes and patterns, but the shape is always like the one seen here.  They are usually molded and painted at the opening of the vase in a style known as shell edge.  Mainly printed in blue,  I have seen black and brown examples and have owned a lovely pink lustre (hand-painted) vase.  The pattern below is Monopteros by John Rogers & Son (1815-1842).  It probably dates to around 1820.
Other side of the Posy Vase

Posy or Pouch Vase, 5.75 inches high
I decided to use the posy vase in the manner for which it was intended, so I picked some flowers from my garden.  They made a lovely informal posy.  If you are interested, the pink daisy-like flowers are Japanese anemones, the pink tubular flowers are penstemon, the purple flower on the right is salvia leucantha (Mexican Sage), and the small red and white flowers are salvia microfylla (Hot Lips).

Posy Vase used as intended.  Unfortunately, it leaked.

I thought the above photo looked much too formal, so I put the posy vase on a shelf cluttered with pottery.

Posy vase on a shelf full of pottery.  Remember that I live in earthquake country so the dowels are a nod to safety.

Here is a photo of the Monopteros pattern on a flat item.  Are there any difference between the pattern on the vase and the pattern on the platter?

Monopteros Pattern platter, John Rogers & Son (1815-1842)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I was surprised to find a beaver in a pattern titled "Indian Scenery."  It is not an animal I associate with India. However, I did learn that the Eurasian beaver was once widespread in Eurasia, but was hunted nearly to extinction. By the turn of the 20th century, only about 1, 200 survived.  I'll add that they have made a comeback in this century.  The beaver on this undertray was surrounded by a fanciful background, so it took me awhile to realize that the animal was actually a rather realistic rendering.  The source print for the beaver is found in a book on natural history; "The Cabinet of Quadrupeds" by John Church.

"Indian Scenery" pierced undertray featuring a beaver, ca. 1840

Close-up of the center of the "Indian Scenery" pierced undertray

"Beaver" from "The Cabinet Of Quadrupeds" by John Church (1805).  It was engraved by James Tookey and drawn by the artist Julius Ibbetson. 
"Indian Scenery" mark/William Hackwood (1827-1843)

Take a look at how the same source print was used by Enoch Wood & Sons.  The beaver looks more at home.  Even if he is in a washbowl!

Monday, August 19, 2013


The nine patterns in the children's series "The Potters' Art" illustrate some of the  stages found in ceramic production.  The manufacturer is unknown and the factory portrayed is also unknown.   It appears that more than one factory made the series, as there are subtle differences in some of the plates showing the same scene. *Compare the two "Potters' Art Throwing" plates (the second Throwing plate is at the bottom of this post).  

"The Potters' Art Cup Making"
"The Potters' Art Handling"

"The Potters' Art Packing"

"The Potters' Art Plate Making"
"The Potters' Art Slip Making"

"The Potters' Art Printing"

*"The Potters' Art Throwing"
"The Potters' Art Transfering"

"The Potters' Art Turning"

Below is a copper plate and a tissue pull that would have been used to make these patterns.  Thank you to Don Carpentier who sent the photos of the copper plate and tissue pull.

Copper plate showing the patterns seen above

Tissue pull made from the above copper plate
*"Potters' Art Throwing" Notice that the pattern here is different from the pattern on the pottery plate above. However, it is the same as the pattern on the copper plate!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


It is the first day of school in my home town.  The excitement is the same today as yesterday.  I have always loved transferware patterns that celebrate school and books.  Here are a few.

Child's 2.75 inch mug, ca. 1820.  It says everything you would expect of a 19th century child;  "Be a good child/Love and fear God/Mind your book/Love your school."

Child's 1.94 inch mug, ca. 1830.  What a charming reward for a child who loves to read!

Child's 2.38 inch mug, ca. 1825.  Here is a reward for loving to read plus a dog pattern!

Monday, August 12, 2013


I have to be crazy to collect pottery in Earthquake Country.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area which is definitely the land of rock and roll!  However, I cannot control what I love.  I have rationalized that nothing is forever.  Certainly not even humans!  So I live with whom and with what I want to enjoy.  That said, I needed to figure out a way to somewhat earthquake proof my pottery.  Of course, that is impossible.  A large earthquake is similar to a bomb.  A smallish one is like being on a sailboat.  Having owned a sailboat in the 1970s, I purchased wooden dowels that I hoped would keep my pots on my shelves.  They did help with the occasional slammed door by an exuberant teenager.  I tried to figure out how to keep plates from popping out of wire holders on the wall (also a problem with slammed doors).  I use QuakeHold or a similar product.  I have also put QuakeHold on the backs of flatware and on the bottoms of hollow pieces.  It can ruin your wooden furniture or painted walls, so beware.  I have bolted all of the large furniture, including the dresser seen below, to the wall.

Notice the dowels that prevent (hopefully) the pottery from falling off a shelf.  QuakeHold sticks the upright plates and platters to the backs of the shelves.
Everything on the dresser is stuck down with QuakeHold
 The top of the dresser is bolted to the wall (left of the Staffordshire figure of Dick Turpin)
The top of the dresser is bolted to the wall more than once (right of the Staffordshire figure of Tom King)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


 Menagerie was the word used to describe a collection of wild animals kept for exhibition before the invention of the word zoo.  Zoo came into common parlance around the 1840s.  It is a shortened form of zoological.  I learned this information because I purchased a charming jug covered with animal patterns titled "Menageries."

"Menageries" jug, 6 inches high by 4.5 inches in diameter, ca. 1840/Tiger and Snake/Notice the molded dog handle

"Menageries" jug/Elephant and Alligator (Crocodile?)

"Menageries" jug/Golden Eagle/Notice the molded stag's head under the spout and the squirrel and hare printed on either side of the eagle

"Menageries" jug/Two small birds by the handle

"Menageries" jug/Insects printed inside the rim

"Menageries" printed mark (missing the "e" and "s")

As the editor of the Animals category for the Transferware Collectors Club Pattern and Source Print Database, I quickly went to my book shelf to find the source prints for the animals on my jug.  I found the tiger, the elephant, the hare and the squirrel in my copy of Thomas Bewick's "A General History of Quadrupeds," which was published in 1790.  The eagle was in Bewick's "A History of British Birds, Vol. I," 1797.   Sadly, the source prints for the snake, the alligator (maybe it's a crocodile), and the insects eluded my search.

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1797

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I saw a lidded rectangular ceramic box printed in blue in a junk shop in the 1960s.  Neither the owner of the shop nor I knew its purpose.  I thought it would be useful to hold Brillo (pot scrubbing wire mesh) or soap.  As the years went by, I was told the box was used to hold razors or toothbrushes.  Now I know the boxes were probably just for toothbrushes.  Only a safety razor would fit in it, not the large razors used when the box was new.

"The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery 1780-1880" by A.W. Coysh and R.K. Henrywood says the box was often called a toilet box and was included in a toilet set to hold toothsticks.   "In Georgian times a toothstick was made by wrapping a clean piece of cloth around one end of a stick.  This was then used to clean the teeth using lemon juice mixed with salt to whiten them."  I will add that my dentist said that lemon juice used regularly will remove the enamel from your teeth! 

Below are two toothstick or toothbrush boxes from the 1820s and 1830s.  Later toothstick boxes might have a handle on the lid as well as pierced holes for ventilation.

Toothstick or Toothbrush Boxes
Rose pattern toothstick box, approximately 7 inches by 3 inches by 2.5 inches high/Maker Unknown, c. 1830
Inside of the rose pattern toothstick box
Lid of the rose pattern toothstick box
"British Views" toothstick box, approximately 6.5 inches by 3 inches by 1.5 inches high, c. 1820
Lid of "British Views" toothstick box/View of Comb Bank, Kent, Maker Unknown*
Inside of the "British Views" toothstick box
*You only see a partial view of the Comb Bank, Kent pattern.  Comb Bank (the great house) is missing!  The dog and boat are copied from an oil painting by Philip Reinagle (1749-1833) titled "Water Dog."