This has got to be the mother of all turkey platters, a fabulous 21 1/2" x 15"... WOW! I have looked and looked for this pattern, but have been unable to find even one other example with this central transfer of a giant fallen Redwood tree that dwarfs both horses and men. I have even contacted The Transferware Collectors Club with no success, however, one comment was that it was "fascinating" and "a strange and quite wonderful aberration," and they did ask for permission to put my photos in their database... WOW again! I believe it would be accurate to say that this is indeed a rare platter.
What does seem clear about this piece is that it was produced in England by T & R Boote, almost certainly for the American market with its quintessentially American subject. And the registration mark tells us that the pattern, "Yosemite", was registered on January 13, 1883. All the other examples of the Yosemite pattern that I have found, display either a somewhat generic landscape or a floral pattern. In fact, according to the experts, there seem to be at least three different borders associated with this pattern name. 'Fascinating' and 'strange' indeed.
In the 19th C the US experienced a great westward expansion. Land was given to migrating settlers, and families packed up wagon trains and headed out into the great western unknown. Then in 1849 gold was discovered in California and the western movement accelerated. As the century progressed and advances in photography took hold, images of never-before-seen natural wonders of the west, including the great Sequoia trees amazed the world; trees whose fallen stumps were large enough to ride a horse through, it was nearly unimaginable. And sometime around the end of the century, T & R Boote Ltd., also known as Waterloo Pottery in the Staffordshire district in Burslem England created this marvelous transfer and applied it to this giant oval platter.
CONDITION is excellent antique, fantastic really, with no chips, cracks, or repairs. There is some tight overall crazing as expected, almost invisible. There does not appear to be any evidence of gold or gilded details. There are only a couple of the most minor scratches on the high point of the inner rim at about 1:00 o'clock and mentioned only for accuracy. The fantabulous pictorial transfer is as pristine and shiny as you would hope with no aftermarket issues. There is the most minor bit of staining that is visible on the bottom of the platter only. This piece looks to have been seldom used, which is not uncommon for such a large platter, smaller pieces were much more likely to see daily use.
I truly cannot say enough about the marvelous central pictorial motif of a giant fallen redwood tree. There are five horses, two inside the enormous hollow stump, one just outside, and two others in the background at the base of a standing redwood. All the horses have riders, and there is one additional man standing just outside the hollow stump. The bottom of this scene is cradled by an 'aesthetic' border which would be correct for a piece produced in 1880's - 1890's England. And it would make artistic sense too, for a platter as large as this to be decorated with an image of such mammoth trees.
A fantastic serving piece for the holidays, but I would guess it's going up on some lucky buyer's wall. This is a keeper for sure. Enjoy!
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