Sunday, April 5, 2015


I have written about source prints before (see a bunch below).*  A source print was quite literally the source for many early transferware patterns.  The patterns were copied from popular books and art works without compensation to the artist.  This was before the advent of the stricter British copyright laws of 1842 and 1844. 

I love finding source prints.  They fill my need for more information; who drew the original pattern and why.  A saucer with a boy riding a goat appeared on eBay recently.  The pattern looked familiar.  Whenever I see a pattern with an animal, I go to Thomas Bewick's  A General History Of Quadrupeds, 1790.   I knew the pattern was probably at the end of one of the chapters, as Bewick had the habit of drawing a vignette or tail-piece to punctuate each chapter.  Sometimes the vignette is  related to the chapter and sometimes not.  So I looked through much of the book before I spotted the boy riding the goat.  It appears at the end of the chapter titled "The Common Goat."  I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had just gone there first!

Boy riding a goat 6.5 inch saucer by an unknown maker, ca. 1825

Source print for the above saucer is from "A General History Of Quadrupeds" by Thomas Bewick, 1790

However, as I perused the chapter vignettes,  I found another print that looked familiar.  It was at the beginning of the chapter titled "The Domestic Cat."  I have never paid much attention to the pattern before.  Unlike Bewick's dogs (there are many), there is only one domestic cat.  I find it interesting how the brain can suddenly resonate with something that it ignored before.  One of my favorite children's patterns features a cat coupled with the text "For a good Girl."  The combination of cat and text is irresistible to me as I love cats and one very special (to me) little girl.  I wasn't looking for the source print, but I found it anyway!

"For a good Girl" 7 inch child's plate, ca. 1830

Source print for the above plate is from Thomas Bewick's "A General History Of Quadrupeds."  It features at the beginning of the chapter titled "The Domestic Cat."

* (I didn't realize I had included so many source prints in my blog posts)
Winemakers Redux
Transferware Treasures and Lady Godiva
"Arctic Scenery" And Transferware Animals
Beavers On Transferware
Doctor Syntax On Transferware
The Temperance Movement On Transferware
Thames Tunnel
Sheltered Peasant And Source Prints
Zoological Gardens, Some Source Prints And More
Tim Bobbin On A Transferware Plate
Ornithological Series And Find The Hidden Picture
A Beaver In India?
"Menageries" Jug
"Quadrupeds" Hyena Cup Plate
"Quadrupeds" And Aesop's Fables
"Quadrupeds" And Source Prints
Transferware Zebras And Their Source Prints
The Goddess Kali
Skunks On Transferware
Dame Trot And Her Cat
Transferware Zoo Patterns #1


  1. I recently read a biography of Bewick - Nature's Engraver by Jenny Uglow. What a wonderful man - I really fell for him!

  2. Thanks for telling me about the book. I shall read it!

  3. Do you happen to know if there are source prints for the 1880-ish BWM Fables series? In the "Staffordshire Pottery" book by R. Cluett the BWM design is mentioned to be by 2 gentlemen: M. Léonce and Mallet. Would they have used source prints?

    1. I don't know, but a good place to begin research is a print shop: I know this one, but there are lots of others. Also, there are lots of antique prints on eBay.

    2. Thanks very much! That is a great idea!