Monday, February 29, 2016


Enoch Wood & Sons "Sporting Series" 16 inch Polar Bear platter

February 27 is National Polar Bear Day.   It is also National Strawberry Day and National Kahlua Day!  As I said in my last post, there seems to be a national holiday for almost everything.  There also seems to be a transferware pattern for everything too.

Polar bears feature on items found in two major animal series; "Sporting Series" by Enoch Wood & Sons and "Quadrupeds" by John Hall.  They are copied from the polar bear print found in "A Cabinet Of Quadrupeds" by John Church, which was published in 1805.

"Polar Bear" print from "A Cabinet Of Quadrupeds" by John Church, 1805.

The "Sporting Series" polar bear was used on four shapes;  a platter (above), a basket, a soup tureen undertray and a vegetable/pie dish.

Enoch Wood & Sons "Sporting Series" basket

Enoch Wood & Sons "Sporting Series" soup tureen undertray

Enoch Wood & Sons "Sporting Series" open vegetable bowl or pie dish

The "Quadrupeds" polar bear was used on the base of a square covered tureen.

John Hall "Quadrupeds" polar bear vegetable tureen

Robinson, Wood & Brownfield (1837-1837) made a series called "Zoological."  It features fanciful patterns of the London Zoological Gardens (London Zoo), which opened in Regent's Park in 1828.   Below is a  scene of the polar bear enclosure.

Robinson, Wood & Brownfield (1837-1837) "Zoological" 12 inch platter

Here's a real polar bear that I photographed at the San Francisco Zoo.

Happy National Polar Bear Day!  Let's keep them safe.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Brownhills Pottery (1872-1896) "Red Riding Hood Meets The Wolf"

Today, February 26, is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day.  There appears to be a national or world day for everything!  Even broccoli!  (I am just guessing here).  So, I thought I'd tell a fairy tale by way of showing some of my blog posts about one of my favorite fairy tales, "Little Red Riding Hood." 

Little Red Riding Hood In French

In the Wood Or Little Red Riding Hood Again

Wolves On Transferware And A Fairy Tale

Click on the links above to see more patterns. 

Happy Tell A Fairy Tale Day!

Monday, February 22, 2016


Mintons fairy tale tiles: "Snowdrop" at the top and "Beauty and the Beast" on the left.

What does transferware have to do with libraries?  The members of the Transferware Collectors Club had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful literary tiles in the Minton Library in Stoke during the 2015 ceramics tour.  The tiles had been covered over more than 50 years before by paint, wallpaper and shelves,  but were in the process of being restored. (Notice the mustard and green paint surrounding the tiles above.  The block of wood probably held up a bookcase).

Fairy tales, scenes from Shakespeare's plays, nursery rhymes, Bible stories, and Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" are just a few of the tile subjects.  Many were designed by John Moyr Smith  (1839-1912) for Mintons (1872-1950). 

More Mintons fairy tale tiles: "Rumpelstiltskin," "Frog Prince," "Snowdrop, and "Six Swans."

Mintons 6 inch tile "Rumpelstilzchen"

Mintons 6 inch tile "Frog Prince"

Mintons 6 inch tile "Snow Drop"/Notice the layers of paint above the tile.  Much of the paint, wallpaper, and bookcases have been removed.

Mintons 6 inch tile "Six Swans" circa 1872/Here you can see a piece of wood that was probably used to hold up a bookcase that covered the tile.

Here are a few tiles that illustrate some of Shakespeare's plays.  These patterns include the Act and Scene.

"Romeo and Juliet"

"The Merchant of Venice"

"Timon of Athens"


What could be better than a library tiled with literary subjects? 

Minton Library

This is an enlargement of the sign above the window on the right.   Click here for some more information about the Free Libraries Act and more photos of the library.

Below are some tiles that illustrate Bible stories and Tennyson's "Idylls Of The King."

Biblical tiles

"Idylls of the King" tiles

One more photo that illustrates one of my favorite fairy tales: Beauty And The Beast.

"Beauty And The Beast" Minton tile.  I wonder if another tile is under the paint on the left.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Moore & Co. "Love Me Always" 19th century 5 inch plate with a molded daisy border. 

I have been treated to flowers, chocolates, and cards on Valentine's Day.  These were heartfelt gifts, but were very ephemeral.  How wonderful to find earthenware patterns for Valentine's gifts.  Although the plates share the size and molded borders usually associated with children's pottery, the small plate above and the plates below were probably intended as love tokens.

"Love the Giver" 19th century 5.5 inch plate with a molded daisy border.

"Kiss Me Quick" 19th century 4.75 inch plate with a molded floral border.

The plate below is also a love token.  The pattern is in the form of a lover's knot.  You need to know where to begin, so look at the enlargement of the center of the pattern (below this photo).

Lover's Knot 19th century 5.5 inch plate with a molded floral border.  The poem is a love puzzle!

   If you haven't figured it out, here is a clue.  Find the words "Ah Woe is me..." 

I like the pattern so much that I own three of them!

In case you haven't figured out the poem, here it is:
"Ah woe is me my tender heart, is pierced by Cupid's fatal dart, Long time against its point I strove, But oh how strange to strive against Love, The wound I have is almost through, And only can be healed by you, Loving true like the Dove, An endless round of blameless love."  Not very good verse, but it is the thought, they say, that counts.


Monday, February 8, 2016


The celebration of the Chinese Lunar year is five thousand years old. There are twelve animals in the Chinese calendar; a different one for each year of a twelve year cycle.  The beginning of the Chinese New Year always falls between January 21 and February 21.  This year it begins on February 8 (which is also my son's birthday).  It is the Year Of The Monkey. 

I was born in the Year of the Monkey.  I read that people born in the Year of the Monkey are supposedly "witty, intelligent, and have a magnetic personality."  They are also "mischievous, curious, clever, and naughty."   If you want to know your personality traits, find the year you were born, and google it.

Below are some more transferware monkey patterns. 

"Monkey" child's mug, 19th century.

"Monkey" child's mug, 19th century.

Monkey child's mug, 19th century.

If you want to see other Chinese New Year posts,  follow the links below.

Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram 2015

Year of the Horse 2014

Dragon for the Chinese New Year 2013

Year of the Monkey 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016


Maker unknown, 3 inch mug "Foot-Ball," late nineteenth century

The title of this post is silly.  The Superbowl is only 50 years old.  But, there is football on transferware.  Of course, it is what we in the United States call soccer.

J. & G. Meakin (1851-2004) 5.37 inch child's plate "Foot-Ball," second half of the 19th century.

However, there is one very American sport (that I know about) on 19th century transferware; Baseball.

"American Sports/Base Ball Caught On The Fly" 7.88 inch plate, 19th century.

"American Sports/Base Ball Striker & Catcher" 7.38 inch plate

"American Sports/Base Ball, Running To First Base" 7.94 inch plate

"American Sports/Base Ball Out On The Third Base" 6.25 inch plate

Cricket has been compared to baseball (it is now one word rather than two), but the games are quite different.  Although, both use balls and bats.

Charles Allerton & Sons (1832-1942) 7.5 inch plate, late 19th or early 20th century

J. & G. Meakin (1851-2005) 5.38 inch plate "Cricket," 19th century

"Cricket" child's mug, late 19th century

Alphabet 5.64 inch plate "Cricket," 19th century.  The pattern was intended to aid in teaching the alphabet.  It features the letters "V W X," along with a molded alphabet border.

"Cricket" 2.75 inch mug, late 19th century

You have probably noticed that all of the patterns I have shown you so far appear on plates and mugs intended for children, but the soup tureen below is part of the "Metropolitan Scenery" dinner service.

Windsor Castle soup tureen from the "Metropolitan Scenery" series by an unknown maker, ca, 1825.  It is copied from a print titled "Grand Cricket Match" from the  1793 issue of the "Sporting Magazine."   Notice Windsor castle in the top middle of the tureen.

Grand Cricket Match from the "Sporting Magazine."

I have only included team sports in this post.  Individual sports such as archery, badminton, and tennis (popular 19th century sports) also appear on transferware, as do field sports such as hunting.  Perhaps I'll write about them another day.

Enjoy Super Bowl 50!  I'll be reading a book about pottery.