Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NHG Library: Blue and white pottery

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Loretta reports:

Though I’ve never collected it, I’ve always liked blue and white pottery, and will gaze in delight at specimens in the display cases of museums—even though, as is often the case with objects in museums, I don’t know much about it.

One thing I didn’t know was that Lord Byron inspired a china pattern.  It’s called Byron Views, and was made by Copeland & Garrett about 1834.  “The views are adapted from Finden’s ‘Landscapes and Portrait Illustrations to the Life and Works of Lord Byron’, published by John Murray in 1832 and after in three volumes.”  Turns out there was also a series based on William Coombs’s “Three Tours of Doctor Syntax,” with illustrations by Rowlandson.

I discovered these and other interesting matters in a Shire book, Blue and White Transfer-Printed Pottery by Robert Copeland. 

Like other Shire books in my collection, this is a wonderful little volume packed with a great many pictures and tons of information.  I’ve used these books time and again in my research—sometimes for facts, sometimes for inspiration.  This one offers plenty of both, starting with a Glossary and History and going on to detailed photos of the manufacturing process, and proceeding to discussions of the patterns and colors (including a chart of the tones of blue).  IOW, perfect for Nerdy History Girls and Boys.  Like other Shire books, it offers an extensive bibliography and suggests places to visit.

What I especially liked about this volume was all the surprises it held. Along with the Byron and Doctor Syntax series, I discovered a Regency-era vegetable dish in a Spode pattern called Sunflower and Convolvulus—which I could have sworn was modern.

The Blue and White Museum has some examples of the Byron Views pattern (on the Museum page, type “Byron Views” in the Pattern Name section). Here’s one.  Other examples of the pattern, but in green, are here.


The illustration at right, which was used on one of the plates shown in the book, is Rowlandson’s "Doctor Syntax and the Bees," from The Tour of Doctor Syntax Vol 2, available online at the Internet Archive.

9 comments:

liebesreime said...

Since you are interested in history, and porcelain, I must recommend a book; "The Arcanum; The extraordinary true story" by Janet Gleeson. 'The extravagent Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, had an insatiable appetite for amassing objects and artifacts of whose beauty--unlike that of his many mistresses--he would never tire. Like a peacock, he fanned his opulent feathers in a show of political dominance, while his palace grew into a wonderland of sugar plums and jewel-encrusted costumes. There was only one problem: his funds were dwindling.'

The answer? read the book....:-)

nightsmusic said...

I love the blue and white pottery. I'm always looking for it at the antique shows. Unfortunately around here, it rarely makes an appearance anymore.

Mme.Tresbeau said...

I, too, collect blue and white ware. I received about two dozen dinner-sized plates from my grandmother,and that began my collection. Nothing matches but I like that. I'll have to look for this book now.

Anonymous said...

The "Blue Willlow" pattern, meant to imitate Chinese porcelain, was actually invented in England- and one version or another has been made continuously by someone since the 1700's. When the two little birds flying above the scene are very fat, it is an indication that the item comes from Japan- English and American versions have slender birds. I hve a cheap 1960's version of this as my kitchen china- It was made by the Homer Laughlin Co. I also have a co,llection of B&W plates and platters displayed on my living room wall, all featuring real British buildings- Compton Wynyates, Brighton Pavilion, Haddon Hall, Houses of Parliamment, etc. I love Blue and White!

Margaret Evans Porter said...

I never knew about the Byron version of blue & white. I have an extensive complete dinner set of willow ware my grandfather purchased in England (enough to use and to display), and a Wedgwood willow tea set I bought when I was at school there. I admire the antique blue and white and other transfer ware but don't dare collect it because my mother already does, and when she downsizes it will all come to me.

It's always so interesting to tour museums with collections of items people used every day and took for granted!

LorettaChase said...

Liebesreime, the book sounds fascinating.__Theo, I have to keep away from antique shows--or I won't have room for my books.__Mme. Tresbeau, I like the nothing-matching look myself.__Anonymous, you struck a chord. The one thing I have collected is Homer Laughlin's Fiesta dinnerware. I keep trying to downsize, but I sell or give away one piece only to happen on another or receive it as a gift from those who've been in my kitchen.___Margaret, it's often the everyday items that end up being so rare--all those broken cups. The book mentioned tea things as being hard to find because they run such high risks of breakage. Who else here has many more saucers than tea/coffee cups in their cabinets?

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Amongst all these collectors, I have to admit that the most blue-and-white that I have is a series of plates made for the American Bicentennial in 1976, and sold as a dollar-giveaway through grocery stores. What better way to celebrate the American Revolution with faux-English-patterns made in China?
Regardless-- I love the designs! *g*

Vanessa Kelly said...

My dad has an antique blue and white set that is just beautiful. My favorite piece is a very large turkey platter. It's old, with a crack down the back and rivets to hold it together, but it sure is beautiful. Needless to say, we don't put the turkey on it!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I have found that I too love transferware. I have found a dinner plate with Venetian Gardens on the back and have had no luck in finding anything on this pattern. Could you please give me some other information on this pattern. The particular plate that I have is in "BROWN". Looked on EBay, Replacements, and everyother dinnerware sight on line. Even looked for history on Venetian Gardens Transferware and still nothing came up. Please give me some kind of lead on this.
This was a one of a kind in a local antique shop. Since I have OCD having a mismatched set is not in the relm of possibilities. Maybe for just a display piece but nothing else. Thank God for Nerds! Squashcasserole

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