Rare Aesthetic Transferware Allegorical Dessert Plate
BRINGING HOME DESSERT
William Brownfield Cobridge Staffordshire England c 1880
This is a gorgeous transfer printed cake plate, decorated in a spectactular burnt orange with gilt edging. The earthenware plate measures 8 3/4" in diameter.
It is decorated with a fantasy allegorical image of a plucky little fairy or elf and his gnome mate, dragging a juicy fruity pear home for dessert. They are looking playful and ready for an adventure. A stunning Aesthetic movement image, part of an early series of fantasy imagery with elves, fairies and gnomes.
The person from whom we purchased the plate said that the design is based on ‘The Water-Babies’, a Victorian children's novel by the Charles Kingsley, written in 1862, a mainstay of children's literature, written as an educational fable. The protagonist of the book is Tom, an inquisitive young boy who falls into a river where he is transformed into a "water baby" and begins his moral education, embarking on a series of adventures and lessons in the company of other water babies. The main characters he meets along the way are fairies elves and critters, each teaching him a moral or spiritual lesson.
The ironstone plate is in great condition, with no chips, cracks, stains, or repairs. Very minor wear consistent with age and prior use.
The stand is marked with the pattern title "Bringing Home Dessert" along with a registration lozenge that dates the plate to the 1880s. The maker was William Brownfield, a pottery manufacturer in the Staffordshire district of England in the mid-to-late 19th century. The plate also has an impressed BROWNFIELD and impressed letter J and unreadable numerals. Transfer printed moral maxims plates of this quality with this series pattern are especially unique. This delightful plate is as good as it gets, a perfect gift for collectors of fantasy wares!