A mid-19th century Staffordshire Child’s Plate showing Black Minstrels with their instruments. The title of the transfer is “The Ethiopians”, referring to minstrel groups from the 1820s through the end of the 19th century who performed in small groups or solo on the streets. The “Ethiopians” gave burlesque performances of Shakespearean plays and operas with Black Melodies. This plate, which is a variation on a similarly titled mug in the Transferware Collectors Club Pattern and Source Print Database, has only 3 performers: one man dancing, one playing the banjo and I’m not sure what the third man (on the left with the hat) is doing. The group is serenading a rather elaborate horse-drawn carriage that resembles an early automobile body. The plate has been hand-painted over the transfer, and there is a thin blue line around the undulating border. It measures 5 ¼” in diameter.
The plate is in fine condition: clean without chips or repairs. There MAY be a very fine hairline in from the edge about an inch, at 8 o’clock: to see it, you have to tilt the plate at just the right angle, and even then, it is extremely faint. Perhaps it is simply a line in the thick pearlware glaze. It certainly doesn’t detract or threaten the plate’s integrity.