Friday, June 26, 2015


Whittaker & Co. (1886-1892) 5 inch plate "Hey Diddle Diddle"

I have always loved nursery rhymes.  Mary Had A Little Lamb, Little Bo Peep, Jack And Jill, Little Miss Muffet, and many more have remained with me from childhood.   I learned a lot from them; it is sometimes okay to break the rules, things usually work out, sometimes you fall down, and fear of spiders!  Nursery rhymes have been popular for hundreds of years.  As you know, the English potters capitalized on whatever was popular, so nursery rhymes often feature on transferware patterns intended for children or the nursery.

Some of my favorite nursery rhyme patterns were produced on tiles made by Minton Hollins & Co. (1868-1962), ca. 1880.  Each one features a different nursery rhyme.  It is lovely to imagine a nursery fireplace surrounded by these tiles.

Minton Holllins & Co. "Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall" 6 inch tile

Minton Hollins & Co. "Little Miss Muffet" 6 inch tile

Minton Hollins & Co. "Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat" 6 inch tile

Minton Hollins & Co. "The Queen Of Hearts" 6 inch tile

Plates with nursery rhymes sometimes included the alphabet. They became both gifts and teaching tools.

Brownhills Pottery (1872-1896) "Jack And Jill" 7 inch plate

Brownhills Pottery "Little Bo Peep" (1872-1896) 7 inch plate
Brownhills Pottery "Little Jack Horner" 7 inch plate

Mugs also showcased nursery rhymes, such as the ones shown here; Little Bo Peep and Old Mother Hubbard.

"Little Bo Peep" 3 inch mug

"Old Mother Hubbard" 3 inch mug

The mug below illustrates a rather dark nursery rhyme; "Rock a Bye Baby."

Child's mug "Rock a bye Baby"

"Rock a bye, Baby, on the Tree top/When the wind blows, the Cradle will rock/When the Bough bends, the Cradle will fall/Down will come Baby, Bough, Cradle and All"

I didn't think the words were frightening when I was little.  I do now!  Nursery rhymes can have a dark side.

If you want to know the dark side of nursery rhymes, take a look at the website: The Dark History Of Nursery Rhymes.    If you are interested in the meaning of nursery rhymes, see Nursery Rhyme Lyrics, Origins and Meaning.

Nursery rhymes are usually found in anthologies with the words "Mother Goose" in the title (See some of my favorite anthologies below).  Who was Mother Goose?  Was she a real person?  Read about Mother Goose origins here.

Mother Goose anthologies/Left: "The Real Mother Goose" illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright, first published in 1916/Center: "Sylvia Long's Mother Goose" 1999, and Right: "My Very First Mother Goose" illustrated by Rosemary Wells.

Did you know that nursery rhymes aid brain development in young children?  Read my blog post "Cumulative Rhymes On Children's Pottery" here.

One more thing.  I really love this tin Mother Goose wind-up toy from the 1930s.  Is Mother Goose a witch?  I often wondered, but here the cat and her hat are not black, and I don't see any evidence of a broom (at least not in this version of Mother Goose).  I digress, as usual, so I'll show you some more transferware patterns.

1930s Marx Mother Goose wind-up toy

Maker unknown "Little Tom Tucker" 6.75 inch plate

Maker unknown "Tom The Pipers (sic) Son" 7.5 inch plate

Maker unknown "Little Bo Peep" 7 inch plate
Maker unknown "Three Blind Mice"/Another frightening nursery rhyme! You can see this pattern in my blog post "Inappropriate Or Frightening Patterns For Children."

I shall end where I began with "Hey Diddle Diddle."  It appears to be a nonsense rhyme.  Certainly more appropriate for children than "Three Blind Mice or Rock A Bye Baby!"

"Hey Diddle Diddle" 6.5 inch plate

"Hey Diddle Diddle"

Friday, June 12, 2015


Jones, ca. 1828 10.12 inch plate "Signing Of Magna Charta"

On June 15,  we celebrate the 800th anniversary of  Magna Carta. (Also known as Magna Charta.) In 1215, King John (1166-1216) signed "the Great Charter of the Liberties" that granted more protection under the law to the church and the barons, and limited the power of the monarch.  A council of twenty-five barons was created to implement and protect these changes.  This council contained the seeds of the English Parliament.   Read an excellent article about Magna Carta written by Daniel Hannan in the Wall Street Journal titled "Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty."  Although the liberties of Magna Carta seem paltry today,  they were revolutionary in the 13th century, and were the foundation for future freedoms and protections under the law for all citizens (not just the rich, the noble, and the male).

The "British History" series by Jones & Son (1826-1828) features at least sixteen English historical scenes, one of which is "Signing Of Magna Charta."  It is copied from the print,"The Barons Compelling King John to Ratify Magna Charta" from Hume and Smollet's "History of England Volume I (1824-1825)."*

King John doesn't look happy!

Printed Jones mark/ The plate above is by a subsequent incarnation of Jones & Son;  it just says Jones with a starburst circle and line beneath it.  There is also an impressed cartouche mark with the wording "Jones/Superior/Staffordshire/Ware."  This suggests that the little known firm of Jones & Son was continued after 1828, possibly by Elijah Jones.

Impressed Jones mark

Happy Birthday Magna Carta!

*Both the pottery and the source prints for this series are found in Dick Henrywood's "The Transferware Recorder," which was published in 2013.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I love transferware floral patterns, and have written about them before (see links to blog posts below). The Transferware Collectors Club Pattern and Source Print Database illustrates more than one thousand patterns in the Floral and Botanical Category.  The category is divided into subcategories; All over sheet pattern, Border only, Botanical, Oriental Influence, Floral Natural, Floral Stylized, Foliage, and Fruit.  I am going to show you patterns from a few of the sub-categories; Botanical, Floral Natural, and Floral Stylized.

The Botanical sub-category shows flowers that are scientifically correct.  Wedgwood, for example, made a Botanical series where many of the patterns were copied from William Curtis' "The Botanical Magazine."   Because of its popularity, the pattern was made throughout the 19th century with a variety of borders, patterns, and colors.

Wedgwood Botanical 8 inch plate, ca. 1815. 

Wedgwood Botanical 9.75 inch plate, ca. 1880

Minton made a series, "Plant," that featured botanical centers.  Many of these botanical patterns were also copied from "The Botanical Magazine" by William Curtis.  It has, like the Wedgwood series, many different center patterns.  Minton  produced another pattern, "Trellis & Plants," that also copied botanical prints.

Minton "Plant" series 18.5 inch platter

Minton "Plant" series 9.5 inch plate

Minton "Trellis & Plants" 11.5 inch plate

The patterns in the Floral Natural sub-category are not copied from a scientific source, but the plants are recognizable.  For example, Brameld (1806-1842) made a pattern illustrating sweet peas that are easily known (if you know your flowers) as sweet peas.  They are an artist's rendering of the flowers rather than copied from a scientific source.

Brameld Sweet Peas pattern octagonal soup plate, ca. 1820

The lovely cabbage rose pattern below is actually in the TCC's Children's Subjects/Floral sub-category, but it could easily be in the Floral and Botanical/Floral Natural sub-category.

Child's 6.25 inch plate with a molded and painted border featuring cabbage roses

Here are more patterns in the Floral Natural sub-category.  Do you recognize any of the flowers (or fruit)?

Ralph & James Clews (1814-1834) "Coronation" 10 inch plate

John Meir (1812-1836) "Flora Pattern" 10 inch plate

John Ridgway (1830-1841) "Shiraz" pattern 10.25 inch soup plate

The Floral Stylized sub-category shows flower patterns that sometimes look like abstract paintings.

Minton sheet pattern, ca. 1810

J & M P Bell & Co. (1842-1928) "Alhambra" Plate

William T. Copeland (& Sons) 1847-1970 "Aquatic" pattern

So far, I have shown you flat pieces; plates and platters.  Here are a few shaped items printed with floral patterns.  What sub-categories do you think the patterns belong in?

Floral sugar bowl with swan finial/Stylized flowers?

"Vas Florum" (Flower Vase)/Floral Natural?

"Union" teapot (it has six feet)/Floral Natural?  Do you see a lily?

 Clews or Adams so-called "Flower Basket" pattern teapot/What category does this pot belong in?

Links to some of my other floral pattern posts.
Roses On Transferware
Fruit And Flowers
Spode's Convolvulus
Wedgwood Water Lily
Transferware Sheet Or All Over Or Chintz Patterns
"Flora Pattern" And Squirrels
Snake In The Garden