Antique low fruit compote in Staffordshire pearlware decorated with a framed dark blue central pattern on the front that is then titled 'Ancient Rome' on the back of the vessel (see all 15 Photos). The pattern depicts three women surrounded by classical architectural ruins as they wash clothes by a fountain while a Legionnaire in helmeted uniform watches over them (see Photos 1, 2 and 9). This compote is from the 1820s (further dating details given below) and measures 17 inches long from handle to handle (Photo 5 helps illustrate size with a one dollar bill for scale). The transfer printed scene includes scraggy bushes and vines growing in nooks and crannies among the partly fallen stone arches, pediments and columns and which also indicate that the stone remains have been abandoned for centuries, if not millennia (Photos 1, 3, 9). Engraving methods include the use of negative blue techniques for the outer floral border where some flowers, scrolls and shells are depicted in 'reverse' where white or a lack of blue pigment helps define their details (see Photos 1, 11, 12). And because this large dish is pearlware, it displays a distinctly blue tinted glaze in areas where the glaze gathers and thickens and is most prominent along the inside of the foot ring (see Photo 8).
Compotes are bowl-like dishes that may be raised on a stem or pedestal or simply stemless like the example offered here. The label 'compote' has been shortened from the French word 'compotier' that refers to a bowl or dish used for serving cooked whole fruit also casually referred to as compote by French citizens. The term comport was typically used by British and American citizens in the 1800s to refer to a form of dessert dish on a stem or pedestal base (Savage and Newman 1985: pg 83). A French market affiliation for this dish in addition to America and Great Britain is raised again further below.
Visually, this is a beautiful antique large serving dish that displays well in most any setting and has no major damage, cracks, hairlines or chips despite being about 200 years old (see complete Condition notes farther below; also see all Photos). Low fruit compotes in pearlware with vestigial handles are comparatively scarce today, especially in comparison to meat platters and chargers. Consequently, the price listed here is well below retail market value and offers a true opportunity for the dark blue printed collector or Staffordshire connoisseur to acquire an uncommon vessel form for considerable discount, especially when compared to similar offerings in New York City, San Francisco, or New Orleans. And this same blue printed pattern has been previously recorded on a platter with 'Carey & Sons' impressed on its underside and, therefore, providing the name of the pottery responsible for producing that particular example (see Coysh and Henrywood's 'The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery: 1780-1880', Vol. II, printed in 1989, pg 14).
Carey and Sons operated a pottery for a short period under that particular joint venture between about 1822 to 1828 based on the extensive research of directories of potteries complied by R.K. Henrywood regarding Staffordshire firms and ventures between 1781 and 1900 (see R.K. Henrywood's 'Staffordshire Potteries 1781-1900', pp 94-95, published in 2002 by the Antique Collectors' Club, Ltd., England). Before 1822, family members had operated under 'John Carey and Son' since about 1818, and then apparently changed the venture to 'Sons' for the six year period noted above, hence the c1825 mid-date stated in the title for this listing. Then by 1830, the pottery was operating as 'Thomas & John Carey' up to 1841, after which the family firm was dissolved (Godden 1964: 127; R.K. Henrywood ibid. p 94-95).
Only the blue fruit compote shown all by itself in Photo 1 and then again in Photos 3 to 15 is for sale here. Photo 2 is provided for informational purposes to help viewers understand the full size of this pearlware dish and how its raised sides also retain fruit and other delectable items whether serving guests or using it as a formal center piece on a dining table. Therefore, the antique cut flint glass liquor decanter, two antique wine glasses, and the colorful fruit and bread are for photographic ambiance and not for sale at this time.
A possible clue to the potentially broader customer base originally sought for this large dish, if it extended beyond English and American patrons who simply enjoyed wares printed in dark historical blue, may be present in one of the diapered patterns seen along the marly and also covering both faces or sides of the two handles (i.e., front and back of each handle; see Photos 1, 5, 6 and 11). These unusual diapers have fleur-de-lys, and after considering the soldier's uniform, the clothing of the women and the period that this compote was produced, France may also have been a targeted market for it since France was not yet producing blue printed earthenware.
SIZE & CONDITION:
As the Photos help show, this is is a large stemless compote, also known as a low compote that measures about 17 inches long from outermost vestigial handle across to opposite vestigial handle (see Photos 4, 5, 6, 15). Specifically, the two handles are not standard handle forms, but they are still perfectly functional for grasping and securing. This dish is about 12 1/8 inches wide and stands about 2 1/4 inches tall along its main outer rim except for each handle where it extends upward to a height of about 3 1/4 inches tall. The compote sits on a tall v-shaped foot ring that measures about 9 1/2 inches by 6 3/4 inches. It's condition is very good with no deep scratches, knife cuts, cracks, hairlines, stains or chips. The only declaration to mention that keeps this compote from being as perfect as the day it was taken out of a Staffordshire kiln nearly 200 years ago has to do with minor glaze wear on some parts of the upper rim edge probably caused by a serving ladle or large spoon. Photos 13 and 14 show close-ups of some of these worn areas that are not readily visible from an arm's distance away (see Photos 1, 5, 9, 11, 12). The areas in Photos 13 and 14 have been cosmetically treated lightly and not infilled or professionally overpainted (treatment appears reversible or open to more detailed professional restoration if the next owner so wishes). In any event, this is a visually striking large dish that will attract attention and comment in most any setting whether filled with fruit, flowers or other items or left empty as a accent dish on a dining table, side table, chest, cabinet or counter. One may also display it up-right in large stand or hang it along a wall (do make sure to use only safe, non-damaging platter hangers or holders). And as always, this antique pearlware compote also comes with my Docs Antiques 100% satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy (see complete Return Policy details farther below).
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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 original receipt of the item at your address for a refund. Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we pack professionally, we will help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary. Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping or delivery 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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Item ID: RL980.a