Childs ABC Plate
Mr Punch & Dog Toby
Charles Allertons Staffordshire England 1870
This scarce nineteenth century childs transferware ABC plate dates to 1870 or slightly earlier from Victoria's England. It measures 7 1/2" inches in diameter with a press moulded Gothic alphabet surrounding the rim. and The central image is transfer printed in brown and hand decorated with wisps of green blue and red underglaze enamel paint. The art work is unsigned and the original source of the design is unknown. The plate is unmarked. The ABC plate series is featured in Noel Riley's book 'Gifts for Good Children', where the plates are attributed to Charles Allerton & Sons during period of 1865 -1880. The plate features the storied characters from the Punch and Judy puppet show (dating back to Italy in the early 17th century) of Punch and his dog Toby and another clown shown within the proscenium of the puppet theatee. These Punch and Judy ABC wares are extremely scarce and were probably made as carnival prizes or advertising giveaways.
The plate is in great condition, clean and bright, little wear, and no chips cracks or repairs. Glaze crazing consistent with age. Stilt marks original the making. The workmanship is haphazard, which is one of the reasons many people collect it...not fine china, and not meant to be; it was made for children and probably considered disposable. The transfers are not aligned neatly, there is runny glaze and little bumps and dips and transfer wrinkles and glazed over edge frits original to the making. The naïve and hasty style adds to the folksy charm.
Plates like this were made as gifts for good children and rewards of merit, used to aid in children's education and moral training, and to encourage their imaginations in the early to mid-19th century. The images were taken from copperplate engravings used in children's books of the same period.
Children's early alphabet plates of this quality are quite scarce and highly sought after. The image is delightful, a throwback to a much simpler time and still capable of making a child laugh! The plate will make a great addition to your collection of children's dishes. We have also listed a companion plate from the same series of early engravings.