1820's Blue White Chinese Flowering Pot or Gardener Pearlware Platter
#AD266: Antique Blue & White Transferware Scene Platter
This is a beautiful medium blue & white early underglaze original pearlware transferware platter, ashet, meat or game plate. The center vignette scene is that of a Chinese gentleman wearing a coolie hat, showing off his gardening skills to a young Chinese boy in a lush and beautiful oriental garden setting. He is saying, "Here is how I did it!" or so we think. The platter is unmarked and in pottery history it is considered made by an unknown maker. It has a very clearly incised number "14" impressed on reverse, see photos.
In the platter scene, the distance has a river, tall mountains, a bridge, a boat with 2 men taking a couple across the river, tall willow trees, and a castle or early stone building, which may be a conglomerate of an English castle with some China style pagoda touches.
This Georgian 1820's was made by the English, to copy the amazing boom and popularity of the much earlier Chinoiserie export pottery trade. The border or rim possibly shows us this man's flower arranging skills, as it depicts a rich and lush flower rim in deep blues, with pre Victorian, Georgian era embellishments and scrolls.
There are variants of this pattern, and the pattern is known as "A Gardener", "Gardener Variation", and "Chinese Pastime." The known Staffordshire potters or English makers of the variants are: Enoch Wood & Sons, Staffordshire, England and Davenport, 1794–1887, Longport, Staffordshire, England.
Condition: There is an interesting restoration on the reverse. We do not know how old it is, or when done. It is overglazed with a 2 x 3 inch area of light yellowing discolouration to back. If you look closely on the front in photos, you can see remnants of an old hairline also on front. You have to scrutinize this very closely to see and it displays beautifully and is intact and solid. This piece is 200 years old.
What is English pearlware pottery? It is an earthenware dating from 1774-1830, the Georgian era in England. A lovely soft glossy pottery with an overall faint blue/grey tint derived from a touch of cobalt blue in the glaze. This cool blue tinge gives a whiter china appearance than the earlier yellow creamware. Historically, Josiah Wedgwood was seen as the inventor of pearlware with his 1779 "Pearl White" line. It is now known that other 18th century firms were producing pearlware in the 4-5 years prior, known as "pearl blue" and "china glaze" in the early pottery trade. Eventually these early terms fell out of use for the word pearlware in the 19th century.
This lovely old platter was found in Morpeth, Northumberland in north east England, which is on the River Wansbeck. The early Georgian period in English pottery history was a mixing of English & oriental patterns at Staffordshire, and this is a beautiful example. It displays beautifully, and these early transfer platters look lovely hung on a wall, or upright on a shelf or in a cupboard. We see them as framed pieces of art. We know this, as we have them all over our house. A scarce and hard to find piece of early Chinoiserie.
Size: 14.75 x 11.5 inches
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Book: Anthology of British Cups, Michael Berthoud 1982 (Coffee Cans too)