Early Staffordshire Child's Transferware ABC Nursery Mug
GARDEN SONG BIRDS ~ CRESTED WREN
Brownhills Pottery Co. Staffordshire England 1880
This whimsical children's transferware ABC or alphabet mug dates to 1880. This diminutive piece stands 2 3/4" tall x 2 3/4" wide with an applied loop handle. It is transfer printed in chocolate brown. One side is decorated with 3 color polychrome clobbering in blue yellow and green depicting a Crested Wren song bird in a naturalistic setting. The reverse side of the mug shows the entire alphabet with the disctinctive Brownhills signature asymmetrical, diagonal Aesthetic design separating the two images.
It is unmarked. Mugs in this series are often marked with British registration number 685, made by the Brownhills Pottery Co in the Staffordshire region of England c1880. The images were originally found as copperplate engravings and woodcuts in an early childrens book of natural history.
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.
The mug is in overall very good condition with a tight hairline at the base of the handle and no other chips, cracks or repairs. Light overall crazing consistent with age. Glaze crazing and minor discoloration inside the rim, consistent with age, and manufacturing imperfections typical of the period, including a glazed over glaze pooling stray paint under the glaze, all original to the making and adding to the unique charm of these early children's wares. It is amazing that this little piece was made for a child so long ago!
Children's early mugs of this quality are quite scarce and highly sought after. The images are delightful, a throwback to a much simpler time. The cup will make a great addition to your collection of ABC transferware and children's dishes.