Ralph Hall produced transfer printed earthenware from 1822-1849 at Swan Bank, Tunstall, Staffordshire, England. The company had a "name change" in 1836 & again in 1841, so we know this plate dates between 1822 and 1836.
While there are many different scenes in the category "romantic staffordshire" not all of them were part of a specific series and this particular series had only 5 scenes. This dinner sized plate is the 5th of the "Picturesque Scenery" collection. It is further titled, "Llanarth Court, Monmouthshire".
(The other four are: 1)Broadlands, Hampshire 2) Cashiobury, Hertfordshire 3)Dunsany Castle, Ireland 4)Fulham Church, Middlesex)
This series isn't an easy one to find and you just don't find them in such lovely condition! The rim and center are bright and shiny! The center has a few light utensil marks. The colours are very intense and the indigo blue is very dark. The pattern is technically "transferware" and not "flow". The design includes very nicely executed trees, the manor house, a pair of swans, a pond and a couple in the foreground walking with their daughter and family dog. The geometric rim at the edge is a bit non-descript, but the wide expanse of well-designed flowers more than make up for it!
Transferware was produced using a "decal" of sorts and the workers at the factories were skilled (some more and some less!) at applying these with care. Any miss and the pattern was ruined. When you look at many plates, especially later on, you can always find the "seam". This one is so busy and so nicely done that you can't.
No chips, cracks or hairlines. There "are" stilt marks but that is a requirement for a plate of this age. (It has to do with the little 3-legged tripods used to stack the plates in the kiln so they won't fuse together during the firing). If you aren't aware of this common mark and would like to know more, please send us a note and we'll reply with a more complete explanation. Stilt marks are not flaws, by the way. They can't be avoided and are considered part of the piece.
We searched and searched for information on this series and the only mention was in our rather "ancient" but a favorite reference book, "The Old China Book" by Moore and copyrighted in 1903! Well, the plate wasn't quite an antique then, but it WAS listed!
By the way......we like this plate so much that we use the picture as the "desktop" on our computer!
10" diameter (25.5 cm)
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