Child's ABC Alphabet Plate
TEA PARTY ~ SIGN LANGUAGE
H Aynesley & Co Longton Staffordshire England c1870
This is a glorious childs transferware double alphabet or ABC plate dating to the mid-19th century. The plate measures 6 1/4" in diameter with the letters of the alphabet press embossed or moulded around the rim and surrounded by a twisted rope border hand outlined with red enamel paint. A second alphabet is shown in sign language inside the well of the plate, surrounding a wonderfully naïve picture of two girls sipping tea and eating tiny sandwiches, undoubtedly the influence of Kate Greenaway, a childrens artist of the time. The plate is transfer printed from an early copperplate engraving on a creamy earthenware plate finished with pearlware glaze.
The plate is marked with a backstamp from H Aynesley & Co in Longton in the Staffordshire region of England. The image and identical mould are illustrated in Noel Riley's book GIFTS FOR GOOD CHILDREN (p120). The author of the book wrote that the growth of urban populations starting with the industrial revolution empowered the deaf community; this plate may have been part of a lobbying campaign specifically for the support of education of deaf children. Plates like this were made as gifts for good children and rewards of merit, used to aid in childrens education and moral training, and to encourage their young imaginations. The winsome imagery of this plate is especially sought after on ABC wares, a throwback to a much simpler time.
Condition of the plate is great – no chips, cracks, or repairs. Typical manufacturing imperfections consistent with age. Mild wear to the outer rim.
The plate will make a great addition to your collection of children's dishes.