This boldly decorated English cheese dome and original matching underplate are not only fine antiques, but wonderful decorative pieces that will dress up your service should you choose to press them into use. The lavish decoration includes butterflies and a super little sardine box, along with layers of mixed patterns all done in the classic Japanese Imari porcelain style that was so popular in England in the third quarter of the 19th C. This dish and dome are opulent and quite simply, fantastic.
There are four ventilation holes on the top of the dome, and the hand written label with the inventory number of a former collection or perhaps even a museum number - "A75." This dish bears the 'Ridgways' mark, the pattern name of 'Old Derby', and an impressed '10/82', dating it's manufacture to October 1882. The 'Derby' pattern was originally a late 18th C design used by Crown Derby that was based on Japanese Imari designs.
CONDITION is grand, especially when you consider that this piece is 132+ years old. There are no chips cracks or repairs and the most minimal wear to the abundant, hand applied gold, much less than you would expect. Some light overall crazing is visible on the few undecorated areas, and a very minor bit of darkening on the dish which can be cleaned should you choose. the little dark mark on the inside of the dish is a stray bit of blue underglaze decoration from the original manufacturing. An impressive, substantial size, the dish is 9¾" in diameter, the cover is 7" in diameter, and the overall height of the cover on the dish is 6¾" to the top of the finial.
Being English, and considering the shape, this stunner of a dome and dish were likely intended to hold a wheel of Stilton, the 'King' of English cheeses, but no need to limit yourself if there's something else on the menu. Of course a wheel of Stilton would be fabulous under this beautiful dome - served with some charcuterie, spiced nuts with honey, some crisp pears, and a fine vintage. Yum!
I'm lucky to live in the beautiful Hudson Valley, close to NYC and its wealthy suburbs as well as New York's vineyards, where fine pieces like this occasionally come to market. This one's a keeper. Enjoy!