1840 Joseph Clementson Large 17" "Sydenham" Victorian Mourning Platter
#AD265: Transferware Platter, Ashet, Meat Plate, or Game Plate
A rare and wonderful large and heavy blue and white "Sydenham" pattern platter made by the well known Staffordshire earthenware potter Joseph Clementson, born 15 July 1794 and died 22 Aug 1871. His pottery manufactory in Shelton, Hanley, Staffordshire, England was in business with him solely at the helm from 1838-1865, and this piece is from that era. It is an all over underglaze blue and white transferware design on a large 17 inch ironstone platter. Click images to see it and condition in close up views.
This beautiful circa 1840's 8 sided ironstone platter is known as the "Sydenham" pattern, named after the district of Syndenham, very affluent area of South West London. The amazingly large iron and glass Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park 1851, and was moved to the quiet and rural Sydenham Hill area in 1854, ever changing the ethos. The palace was the site of the "Great Exhibition" of 1851, presented by Inventor Sir Henry Cole and Prince Albert, with help and much touting from his wife, the beloved Queen Victoria. It was a huge success and was a 19th c Victorian World's Fair of culture and industry, one we wish surely wish we could step back into for a day.
The Sydenham pattern by Clementson had 6 neo classic underglaze transferware Romanesque and Grecian inspired scenes. It also came other colours, all difficult to find and in good condition. The mark on reverse is the graphic and beautiful transferware winged phoenix bird mark. This mark of Joseph Clementson reads: "Ironstone, Sydenham, J. Clementson."
Although in pottery history the "Sydenham" pieces are explained as each having a statue, we actually feel this pattern is based around Victorian mourning. To us it depicts a distraught mother with a deceased child on her lap, often an iconic pose in Victorian era CDV Carte de Visite photos and iconic printed matter of the era, especially in America. The edge rim shows 4 of the same poses of a mother, presumably this mother, with her young child on her back, alive, playing and enjoying life. In the distance is a lake, classical architecture, beautiful peaks and a scenic view. The rim is highly embellished in Victorian art and also depicts 4 Grecian rim urns as well in an all over Neo classical and Grecian element design. We see a balustrade, steps, large stone columns, urns and a lake or river. Is she a statue? maybe she is, she has a very ghostly appearance.
Pottery History: Early on his first pottery business, at age 36 Joseph Clementson started his business as "Read & Clementson", then on to "Read, Clementson & Anderson" from 1832-1836. We then find Joseph Clementson running his pottery factory by himself, roughly from 1838-1864 and signing his beautiful wares as "J. Clementson", as we see here on this early original platter. The name of his pottery was the "Phoenix Works" from 1839-1845, where he expanded and in 1855 bought out William Ridgway of the nearby "Bell Works." He is known to have exported works to America in great quantity. His wife was Martha Philips Clementson, born 1796, and they married 1816, bearing 8 children. In preparing for his family, he wisely changed the company name to "Clementson Brothers" in 1868 for his four sons, Francis Clementson 1818-1875, Joseph Clementson Jr. born 1824, John Clementson 1834-1896 and Matthew Clementson 1827-1885, and also son in law involved. Joseph Sr. died in 1871 and his company thrived under the sons, exporting to America and the world. It was run by family interests until closing immediately before WWI, in 1916.
There are no chips, cracks or repairs. This piece is in beautiful shape. It does show some light use surface wear and slight platter discolour on the reverse, as well as edge wear you would expect for its age, but we were thrilled with the overall condition for a piece this large and at 180 years old. See close up views. it was found in Penryn, Cornwall, England, close to Falmouth. A wonderfully rare and interesting piece we would be surprised to ever have again, nor in this condition.
Size: 17 inches x 13.5 inches
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Book: Anthology of British Cups, Michael Berthoud 1982 (Coffee Cans too)