Early Staffordshire Child's ABC Nursery Rhyme Plate
LITTLE JACK HORNER EATING HIS CHRISTMAS PIE
Staffordshire England c 1860
This child's bi-color transferware plate dates to 1860, possibly earlier. This plate measures 5-5/8 inches in diameter, transfer printed in a 2 color motif, sepia brown and red. The entire alphabet boldly printed along the outer rim encircling is a naive depiction of LITTLE JACK HORNER, the character from the popular child's nursery rhyme, eating his Christmas pie. Jack is seen sitting in the corner holding his thumb high while holding a plum. The plate is signed with a maker’s or retailer’s initials JHP&R, along with B&NY, indicating it was made for retail distribution in Boston and New York. We are unable to identify the exact maker or retailer. The plate was made was most definitely made in the Staffordshire region of England in the mid to late 1800s, apparently made for the American market.
The plate is in great condition with no chips, cracks or repairs. A stray dot of blue paint (under the glaze) and stilt marks original to the making. The workmanship is haphazard, which is one of the reasons many people collect these wares...not fine china, and not meant to be; made for children and probably considered disposable. The transfers are not aligned neatly, there is runny glaze and little bumps and dips and transfer wrinkles and glazed over edge frits original to the making. The naïve and hasty style adds to the folksy charm. The winsome image is delightful, a throwback to a much simpler time. It is amazing that this plate was made for a child so long ago!
Mugs and plates like this were made as gifts for good children and rewards of merit, used to aid in children's education and moral training, and to encourage their imaginations in the 19th century. A lovely addition to your ABC transferware and Christmas collection.