Rare Staffordshire Childs Plate
Ford & Challinor ~ Staffordshire England c 1870
This is striking child's plate c 1870. Originally would have been part of a complete child tea or dessert set, the ironstone plate measures 6-1/8 inches in diameter with a gently scalloped rim outlined in green. Transfer printed in a rich and earthy forest green against a creamy earthenware with a pearlware glaze, the set features a naive depiction of three women sitting at a tripod table having a tea party. The image is surrounded by the motto:
LADIES ALL I PRAY MAKE FREE AND TELL ME HOW YOU LIKE YOUR TEA
It has been said that this image and motto were used as a subtle or secret expression of the early women's suffrage movement which began in England in the 1860s. According to one auction house, the pattern “calls for the ‘freedom’ of women”, an early reference to the growing sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic following the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.” Significantly, the convention was signed at a round, tripod-legged mahogany tea table like the one illustrated on the set. The plate memorializes this landmark event in the history of women's liberation. (The table is now in the collection of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.)
The plate is unmarked. The pattern is commonly attributed to the Staffordshire pottery makers Ford & Challinor (1865-1880) in England.
The plate is in great condition, with no chips cracks or repairs. The design is elegant and striking, an exciting commemoration of an historical event that changed the role of women in society. The plate will make a wonderful display and a welcome addition to any collection of children's early wares or collection of early feminist history. A rare plate, offered as is.