Antique Staffordshire late pearlware blue Willow meat strainer insert for a platter from the mid 1820s to mid 1840s, hence the c1835 mid date (see all Photos). It measures 13 inches long by 9 5/16 inches wide and will fit as a strainer insert at the top of the well of a medium to large platter that also has a matching oval shape. Specifically, this insert will fill the well of a platter that shares the same rounded oval outline.
The meat strainer offer here is in very good condition with no major body damage, chips, hairlines, repairs or restorations (see full condition notes farther below). It has a shiny, bright glaze and a white earthenware body that is visually comparatively clean with just a hint of decades of use when examined up close under strong light. Unlike some platter drainers, this drainer has numerous small holes with the total estimated at about 260 drain piercings. Similar size antique platter drainers from the same period may have as few as 70 or 80 drain holes.
The pottery that produced this strainer is not known although avid blue Willow collectors may have suggestions based on certain stylistic motifs visible in the printed design. The patterns in the fence segments in the foreground (see Photos 5, 6, 7), the roof finial on the Pagoda far across the bay (see Photo 1), the silhouettes of the three people traversing the foot bridge (see Photo 7), and the leafless branches near the top of the large Willow tree (see Photo 1) offer clues to the possible uniqueness of the engraved design on this strainer and therefore possibly the factory that may have made this strainer when one can identify a marked example with this exact same Willow engraving. An example of detailed information on Spode Willow patterns is offered by Robert Copeland in his treatise first published in 1980 and subsequently updated (see Robert Copeland’s third edition titled ‘Spode Willow Pattern and other Designs after the Chinese’ published in 1999 by Bath Press Ltd., pp. 33-44). If any viewer recognizes some of the unique nuances in the Willow pattern on this strainer insert, do kindly drop me an email and share what you know - - thanks, Doc.
The only mark on this drainer insert is a small blue ‘A’ located on its underside (see Photo 4 where a red pen points to the tiny A). The late pearlware glaze on the drainer along with its rounded oval shape and the mix of line engraving along with a liberal use of patches and areas that were acid etched rather than stipple engraved. Acid etching of the copper sheet produces an even blue ground that cannot be replicated any other way. The grass in the lawn around the main Pagoda and adjacent the foot bridge are just a sample of the areas where acid etching was used instead of manual engraving (see Photos 7, 8 and 9).
The detailed history of the Willow pattern is well beyond the scope of this listing. It was developed by British engravers at the request of potteries that wanted to mimic hand painted Chinese riverscapes common on export porcelain produced in the late 1700s. Some authorities believe that the earliest transfer printed British Willow pattern was developed by Josiah Spode in the early 1790s (see Robert Copeland’s third edition of Spode Willow Pattern and other Designs after the Chinese published by Bath Press Ltd. in 1999: pp. 33-44). Other scholars have attributed the first Willow pattern to the effort of Thomas Minton in about 1792 when he worked for Thomas Turner at Caughley after which a special request was sent to China to have the Willow pattern hand painted on export porcelain over there (Ivor Noel Hume’s A guide to Artifacts of 1969:130). These earliest Willow patterns were not identical to the standard Willow pattern recognized today. The classic blue Willow pattern we recognize today emerged by about 1810 and became the dominant version printed on Staffordshire pearlware, ironstone and whitewares after 1820.
Blue willow plates, platters and dishes were popular in America by 1810. And although blue Willow was produced continuously in Staffordshire potteries for well over 100 years, American households grew tired of the pattern by about 1850 as ceramic fashions shifted toward newer styles and more diverse decorative designs. In the United States, plain and molded white ironstone wares and other ceramic alternatives caught the fancy of rural and urban families alike. However, in England blue Willow remained commercially available and the story of the legend behind the pattern grew as an early example of a popular nineteenth century urban myth.
In 1849, a detailed story explaining many of the symbols and images found in the classic Willow pattern was published in Volume 1 of ‘The Family Friend.’ Robert Copeland reproduces this four page article in facsimile in his book titled ‘ Spode Willow Pattern and other Designs after the Chinese’ that was referenced earlier (published by Bath Press Ltd. in 1999; see pp. 198-201). The Willow pattern is allegedly based on a story of two young lovers, Chang and Koong-see-and how they fled together in order to escape Koong-see oppressive father. Konng-see’s father was a powerful Mandarin who had worked as a tax assessor for the Emperor of China. Chang had assisted the Mandarin with accounts while working as his secretary.
If the buyer of this platter insert has not read this early rendition of the symbolism allegedly behind the story explaining the Willow pattern, please let me know and I’ll include a courtesy copy in with the item. And so whether you enjoy antiques or are an avid Willow collector, do consider purchasing this platter drainer while it is still available. Antique Blue Willow drainer inserts in good condition are getting harder to acquire today as time and natural disasters continue to take a toll year after year. And best of all, this platter drainer also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy for a refund (see full Return Policy details farther below). 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 platter drainer measures 13 inches long by 9 5/16 inches wide. It weighs just under 1 3/4 lbs and has a thickened and rounded rim collar to help set it within the well of a similarly shaped platter (see Photo 3). And as noted earlier, this meat strainer is in very good condition with no major damage, chips, hairlines, repairs or restorations (see all Photos). Its glaze is partially crazed and covers a white earthenware body that is comparatively clean with just a hint of decades of use when examined up close under strong light. When inspected up close, a few of the drainer holes display minor staining that is not visually apparent from arms length (see all Photos). Of course, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this antique platter insert for a refund (see our complete return policy for all details as stated below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $12.70 for well packed USPS Priority Mail and this is an estimated savings of $2 to $6 since insurance and tracking are INCLUDED in this amount. That is, the insured postage you pay for delivery in the US is always less than our actual costs or we refund the difference back to you, and there are never any handling or packing fees added to any of your Docs Antiques purchases, ever. All international buyers will also pay less than the actual shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the Continental US mainland. Send us your address and we will email you up to four options for sending this item to your country. Please note that international import duties, taxes and other special charges are not included in the item price or our shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition waiver for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce some import taxes when your country grants such petitions for items over 100 years old and the shipping option you select allows a waiver request to be included. Please check with your country's Customs Office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings here on Ruby Lane. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with a purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within fourteen days of the original receipt of the item at your address for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable, please insure the item upon return and add tracking). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we pack professionally, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help if you have any questions and we will gladly assist.
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