French Historical Caricature Cup Plate
NAPOLEON the MONKEY Riding WELLINGTON the DOG
Keller & Guerin Luneville France 1870
This is stunning toy transferware cup plate, originally part of a complete miniature doll's dinner service or tea set. The diminutive plate measures 4 inches across, transfer printed in rich and earthy brown against a creamy earthenware blank, imaginatively decorated with a monkey dressed as a soldier or military officer, carrying a long sword, and riding a St Bernard or Newfy dog. The characters are a French caricature of Napoleon and the English Duke of Ellington, taken from the art of Grandeville, a satirical comic artist.
The original pattern name for the complete set was "Polichinelle", the French name for the main character of the original Punch and Judy puppet show.
This stunning piece is an uncommon form of 19th Century miniature French transferware. Much like the transfer printed childrens wares from Staffordshire England, this pattern is commonly attributed to Keller & Guerin one of the faienceries in the Luneville region of France c1890. The plate has no maker’s marks other than an impressed tally mark. The plate is in great condition with no chips cracks or repairs. Minor typical transfer imperfections and glaze ponding, adding to the authenticity and charm of this tiny serving piece. Miniature early transfer printed wares of this quality from France are quite scarce and highly sought after. The images are absolutely captivating, having originated as a political cartoon and transformed into whimsical childrens toy ware.