Rare Earthenware Aesthetic Movement Plate
Fontaine / Aesops Fables ~ RAT & OYSTER
Brown Westhead and Moore Potteries
Staffordshire England ~ c. 1880
This is a superb and quite scare transferware plate registered around 1880. The plate measures 10" in diameter with a scalloped rim. The plate is finely potted. The decoration is based on a woodcut etching from the highly coveted Fables series made by Brown Westhead and Moore made for the French and English markets. The series is based on the fables of Aesop and Fontaine. The plate is decorated in a brilliant flow mulberry sometimes called flow blue or blue black.
A RAT, possessed of little brains,
Accustomed but to fields and plains,
Forsook the store of corn,
And—his first trip since he was born—
Scorning a parent’s kind control,
Rashly forsook his native hole.
The very moment he was out,
He looked above, and round about:
“Oh! how extensive is the land!”
He cried; “the world, how vast and grand”
The mole-hills, to his untaught eyes,
Assumed the mountains’ height and size
“Amazing!”—he proceeded thus:—
“I see the Alps and Caucasus!
And that (a stream he saw in motion)
Is, surely, the Atlantic ocean!”
At length, proceeding to the shore,
Where fishermen had been before,
Some scattered Oysters there remained
Of the large portion they had gained.
Among them one (as oft we view),
With shell upraised an inch or two,
Lay as in quiet, soft delight,
Exposing skin of healthy white;
So plump and tempting did it lie,
It caught the Rat’s exploring eye.
“What do I see?” he cried; “a treat
This must be most delightful meat;
At any rate, this day I dine
Better than any friend of mine.
I have been looking for good cheer,
Lucky am I to find it here.”
Then, full of hope, lured by the smell,
He thrust his head within the shell.
The Oyster, who had never met
With so much unpoliteness yet,—
And, surely, nothing could be ruder,—
Caught, crushed, and killed the bold intruder.
The first moral of the story is that those who lack worldly grounding may find the commonest things astounding. And following this, we also can discern a truth that should widely be taught: He who would catch is often caught.
The plate is in great condition, with no cracks, hairlines or repairs. Insignificant utensil scratching consistent with occasional prior use. The images are clear and crisp with intricate detail and whimsical styling. The plate was made with great attention to detail. This fantastic transferware plate will make a gorgeous addition to any serious collection of Aesthetic movement wares.
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