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Antique four lobed pearlware dish by Wedgwood from about 1810 (impressed factory mark shown in Photo 8). It has on-glaze hand enameling and gilding over a blue transfer print of a Chinese water landscape (see all Photos). The underglaze light blue printed scene displays a pond with exotic flowering vegetation set behind a rutted road running along side of a Chinese garden fence (Photo 1). Water lilies (Lotuses), reeds and other foliage rise from of the water (Photos 4 and 5) whereas sprays of oriental flowers frame the scene and occupy each of the corners defined by the four lobes. Overglaze enamel colors in addition to the liberal use of gold gilding include a distinctive red, very dark opaque blackish blue, a watery transparent green, and a limited amount of weak brownish-orange that did not take hold cleanly where it was used to fill in some petals. The rim has been painted with a lustrous light copper brown reminiscent of the much older Batavia brown luster applied to rims of Chinese export porcelain in the eighteenth century (i.e., 1700s).
Quatrefoil dishes were often available when ordering larger table services, particularly dinner and dessert services, but also in some breakfast services. Square shaped pearlware quatrefoil dishes like the one listed here were produced at the Wedgwood factory between 1805 and 1815 as noted by Godden (see example on pg 349, Figure 612 in Geoffrey A. Godden’s ‘An Illustrated Encyclopedia of British Pottery and Porcelain,’ published in 1965 by Bonanza Books, New York).
This dish is symbolic of an important shift in Wedgwood factory production. The factory did not produce underglaze blue transfer decorated wares in house until 1805 because Josiah Wedgwood had made a promise to his workers and decorators that his factory would not stoop to using cheap mechanical methods (i.e., engraved copper plate transfer printings). Josiah died in 1795 and by 1805 his factory began to use underglaze blue transfer printing in order to compete.
However, and as this dish perfectly illustrate, some of the Wedgwood factory’s earliest underglaze printed wares used a light to medium blue to outline elements so that decorators could fill them in by hand using overglaze enameling (see Photos 5 and 6 for close up views). In fact, this dish seems to represent the use of a different method of engraving the copper plate from which the decorator pulls the transfer. Specifically, the underglaze blue lines and broader solid areas do not show the harsh edges caused by cutting lines with a steel engraver or punching small dots (see Photos 5 and 6). Instead, the underglaze blue details appear to be pulled from an acid etched master copper plate or possibly a limestone block mush like a lithograph pull. If any viewer knows more about the underglaze transfer techniques applied by the Wedgwood factory between 1805 to 1815 that did not use steel engraver to cut the design. Kindly drop me an email – thanks, Doc.
In comparison to many contemporary underglaze transfer printed pearlware dishes from the 1800-1810 period, this dish is simply decorated without being overly busy or chaotic (Photos 1 and 4). Furthermore, this dish displays a tasteful balance between floral elements, landscape parts and undecorated background (see Photo 1). Hand applied gold enamel gilding fills in many of the flower petals whereas gold lines accent fence parts and the edges of a many linear leaves of grass and reeds (see Photos 5, 6 and 7 where reflected light helps illustrate the liberal use of gilding). All of the gold enamel is applied over the glaze and has been burnished by hand to achieve a bright metallic sheen that still retains its luster despite more than 200 years of use and care. Photo 7 illustrates visually using reflected light the liberal use of gold gilding in the center of this dish. The four outer floral sprays also have been tastefully accented with gold, too.
And as already mentioned, this four lobed dish was produced at the Wedgwood factory between 1805 and 1815 based on the impressed marks and the special squared quatrefoil shape, hence the c1810 mid-date. Also, this dish has three factory marks impressed into the base and they include an upper case ‘WEDGWOOD’ (Photo 8) and two quality control marks: (1) a workman’s mark consisting of four dots forming a square (Photo 9) and (2) an uppercase ‘D’ (also Photo 9).
Finally, pearlware as a special glaze and refined earthenware body was perfected by Josiah Wedgwood as he sought to improve upon his refined creamware formula. Wedgwood had previously developed creamware in the early 1760s as an improvement on the semi-refined cream colored wares that had dominated the fine earthenware tableware market in Staffordshire and other pottery centers in Great Britain since the 1740s. Wedgwood marketed his creamware under the label Queensware by a least 1767 after receiving an endorsement from the Royal family in the mid 1760s.
By 1779, Wedgwood had succeeded in whitening the refined clay body used for making creamware and also in removing the yellow tinge left behind in the lead glaze. Wedgwood accomplished this by adding cobalt to the glaze to produce a whiter looking ware (see Ivor Noel Hume’s ‘A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America’ published by Alfred A Knopf, NY, 1970: pp 125-126; see also Godden 1965 page xxi). Wedgwood named his newly improved refined earthenware ‘Pearl White’ which has subsequently become known as pearlware.
The dish listed for sale here is a perfect example of Wedgwood’s pearlware since it has a white looking body that projects through a bluish tinted glaze. The glaze displays a distinctive bluish tint where is gathers and thickens along the edge of the footring. Photos 8 and 9 show a bluish tint along the foot ring and in the recesses of the impressed letters and factory marks that is the result of adding cobalt to the glaze formula.
So if you are looking for a elegantly gilded antique pearlware dish with an early use of underglaze blue transfer printing from Wedgwood, then make sure you seriously consider this one while it is still available. Furthermore, this dish is in excellent condition and also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Condition details below as well as information on Doc’s complete Return Policy). You also have the option to ask for a customized lay-away plan for purchasing this item (and others when combining orders) by simply requesting the terms you wish to use and then let Doc take care of setting it up and combining any items together as desired (payment installments may be modified at any time should the unexpected ever arise, just let me know by email and I’ll change the due dates).
SIZE & CONDITION: This dish stands 1 1/2 inches tall and measures 7 1/2 inches along each side or a maximum of 8 1/2 inches across on a diagonal. It weighs just over 1/2 lbs empty and sits on a perfectly formed tall foot ring that measures about 3 3/4 inches along each side (final shipping weight is estimated about 1 1/2 lbs). Also, this Wedgwood dish is in excellent condition with no major production defects and no glaze chips, hairlines, major stains, deep scratches, repairs or restoration. The gold gilding, overglaze enameling and rim edge brown luster are more than 99.8% complete. Photos 5, 6 and 7 illustrate visually using reflected light the liberal use of gold gilding on different parts of this dish. Wear is minimal and the only evidence of use are a few fine utensil scratches hardly noticeable without inspecting the dish up close under strong light. And as always, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this dish for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as stated below).
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c1810 Wedgwood Pearlware Quatrefoil Dish with Gilded and Hand Colored Oriental Scene
$118 USD SOLD
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