Monday, March 30, 2015


"Behold him rising from the grave" 5.75 inch plate with a molded daisy border, ca. 1840.  The verse is taken from an 1832 edition of Isaac Watts' (1674-1748) "Divine Songs for Children." This illustration, in turn, is taken from Piero della Francesca's "Resurrection" fresco in Borgo San Sepolco.

Easter is more than yellow chicks and jelly beans.  For the 19th century child and for many children today, it means church and the story of the Crucifixion.  Here are some plates that may have been Easter or Sunday School gifts.

Child's plate,  The Crucifixion: "Jesus When He Had Cried Again With A Loud Voice Yeilded (sic) Up The Ghost," ca, 1830

Child's 6.3 inch plate "Christ Crucified." 

Although the plates above are an excellent jumping off place to begin a serious religious discussion, I prefer giving my young grandchildren plates patterned with chicks and bunnies.

Children's plates featuring chicks and chickens, all circa 1830-1840

Children's plates featuring rabbits, circa 1830-1880

Monday, March 16, 2015


I thought St. Patrick's Day would be the appropriate time to show you Irish patterns.   Some are places in Ireland,  some are symbolic of Ireland, and some are about Irish history.  All of the patterns and many more are in the Pattern And Source Print Database of the Transferware Collectors Club.

"Hibernia" by John Wedg Wood (1841-1860).   Hibernia is the classical Latin name for Ireland. This pattern is part of a series where each size and shape has a different center.  The pattern on the top left is Enniskerry in County Wicklow, Ireland; the pattern on the bottom left is Lighthouse at Howth; and the pattern on the right is named "Trafalger."  It is actually a view of the quay at Waterford in Ireland.

Charles Harvey & Sons (1805-1827) "Dublin" Cheese Stand/Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, situated on the east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey.

Thomas & John Carey (1828-1842) "Irish Views/The Upper Lake of Killarney" 10.4 inch soup plate.  The pattern is part of a series that depicts different views of Ireland on each size and shape.

Dudson (1800-1898) 5.5 inch saucer known as Celtic Greeting, ca. 1829.   According to J. McQueen, Professor of Celtic Studies, Edinburgh Univ., 'The lady is ...Catholic Ireland, as is shown by the cross and the harp...The hero is Daniel O'Connell (1776-1847), the Liberator...The building the Roman Catholic Church...The sun breaking through represents the dawning possibility of Catholic Emancipation, which became reality in 1829.' He dates the saucer to 1828 when O'Connell was elected MP for County Clare.

An 1820s jug showing (top) Catholic Ireland (the woman) leaning on the Irish or Celtic harp and pointing to a shield emblazoned with a shamrock. The bottom left shows Catholic Ireland again.  Here, she is holding a shamrock staff and crowning a man who may be Daniel O'Connell (see the caption above).  O'Connell leans on an Irish or Celtic harp.  The bottom right shows the Irish or Celtic harp.  The border is composed of acorns and shamrocks.

Maker Unknown 5.75 inch saucer "Repeal, D O Connell Esq"/Following the ratification of Catholic Emancipation in 1829 (giving Catholics in Ireland the right to vote) and the passage of the Great Reform Bill of 1832, O'Connell formed the Repeal Association in 1840. This political movement sought to repeal the Act of Union which formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1800, and to regain political autonomy for the Irish.

Wallis Gimson & Co. (1884-1890) "Charles Stuart Parnell. M.P."  9.5 inch plate.  Parnell was a leader in the fight for Irish Home Rule.  Notice the harp and shamrock of Ireland with the words "Erin-Go-Bragh" above the portrait of Parnell.

Erin Go Bragh!*  I think I used more links in this post than in any other!

Monday, March 9, 2015


"Rural Village" (also known as Village Church) Stilton cheese stand/2.5 inches high by 11.5 inches in diameter. It is circa 1825.

I bought a cake stand that I soon learned was actually a Stilton cheese stand.  I found a reference to Stilton cheese stands in Robert Copeland's Ceramic Bygones;  "Cheese was important to complete a formal meal.  A Stilton cheese could be kept moist in a Stilton cheese pan with a pottery base and cover.  A more common way was to have a flat Stilton cheese stand with a low raised edge; the cheese was kept in good condition beneath a large glass cover.  Unfortunately,  few of these glass covers have survived with the bases."  Copeland goes on to relate how to keep the cheese moist by  cutting off the top and reusing it to cover the cheese.

Willow pattern cheese stand above and Romantic pattern stand below.  Notice how the shape of the Stilton cheese fits the stand.

Although I have never served a large Stilton cheese on my stands, I find them useful to serve cake, cookies, pies, quiche, and much more.  I have also used them (I own three) as cheese trays (assorted small cheeses).

Below are a few  more stands.  (Remember that they would have had glass or pottery domes).

Pountney & Allies (1816-1835) "St.Vincents (sic) Rocks" 2 inches high by 10 inches in diameter Stilton cheese stand in the Bristol Views series

Spode (1770-1833) Castle pattern 1.5 inches high by 10.5 inches in diameter Stilton Cheese stand

I have no glass domes to show you, but my friend, Dora, has supplied me with photos of two of her lovely earthenware cheese domes.

Two earthenware cheese domes/The dome on the left is printed with Davenport's The Villagers pattern, ca. 1825.  I don't know the name of the circa 1850s Romantic pattern on the right.

My own experience is that Stilton cheese stands are about the most useful pieces of old transferware. And, they are also easy to store. 

A Stack of Stilton Cheese Stands (3)

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I have already written about the threats to many of the animals on our planet.  It would appear that transferware has nothing to do with endangered animals, but there are connections.  Benjamin Franklin said "A Dead Bee Maketh No Honey."  You can read about this in my post Bees And Transferware.  In light of the present state of the honeybee, his words were prophetic (although I realize he was addressing negligence or lack of industriousness). 

J. & G. Meakin (1851-2004)  7.38 inch child's plate "A Dead Bee Maketh No Honey"

Did you know that the Eurasian beaver is making a comeback?  Did you even know that it was hunted to the brink of extinction? Read about it in my post Beavers On Transferware.

Enoch Wood & Sons (1818-1846) wash bowl with the Sporting Series Beaver pattern, ca. 1825

Another endangered animal is the pangolin; the world's only scaly mammal.  I learned about the pangolin and its plight when I was given a pattern to add to the Transferware Collectors Club Pattern And Source Print Database (I'm one of the editors).  The pangolin is a great delicacy with imagined magical powers, so it has been hunted to near extinction.  You can read about this in my post titled Pangolin.

Saucer, 4.25 inches, printed in black with a pangolin, ca. 1820

The native red squirrel is endangered in Britain by the American (aka Eastern) grey squirrel.  An unusual looking squirrel on a "Flora Pattern" plate alerted me to yet another threatened animal.  You can read the story in Flora Pattern And Squirrels.

"Flora Pattern" 10 inch plate with squirrel, ca. 1820

My last animal is a bit of a reach.  I have convinced myself that the animal in the "Visit to the Zebra" pattern seen below is really a quagga.  I mainly wanted to share with you the story of this extinct animal and its remarkable quasi comeback.  Read  Visit To The Quagga to learn more.

Child's plate, "Visit To The Zebra" ca. 1840

Photo of a quagga in the London Zoo, ca. 1870

 I realize this blog is merely a bagatelle.  Transferware and endangered animals?  Decide for yourself.