This 9-3/8" Cobalt & Gold handpainted plate was made by John Aynsley & Sons of Longton, Staffordshire about 1888. The plate is artist signed: J. Birbeck. On the back, handwritten in red: "Thirlmere" and the pattern number "2204". British collectors call this type of plate a "Named View".
In his book "Staffordshire Porcelain" Geoffrey Godden says: " The Aynsley porcelains should be grouped with the finest produced in the British Isles."
It is in excellent condition. There are no chips, no cracks, and no repairs. The plate rings when tapped.
I have found marked examples of this shape on-line, and also in the book "Aynsley China" by Frank Ashworth, on page 13. Several sources state "Early (Aynsley) wares were unmarked." The pattern number of this plate fits in with Aynsley's pattern numbering system.
The artist J. Birbeck is known to have worked for Aynsley c. 1888, per the photograph of a dated loving cup in the "Aynsley China" book on page 11.
I currently have four of these beautifully painted castle, ruins, and scene plates available.
Historical note: Thirlmere (formerly known as Leathes Water) is depicted here from the north. Helvellyn, shrouded in mist, is at the left and Raven Crag at the right. This is the view one would have seen before 1890, which helps to date this plate. The water level was raised by construction of a dam at the northern end of Thirlmere, in 1890–1894. The dam and reservoir entirely changed this view of the lake.
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