Mulberry Transfer Printed Allegorical Tea Tile
POLITICAL ANIMALS ~ FOX & BEAR
Staffordshire England c 1860
This is a playful transferware tea tile, decorated in with allegorical animals transfer printed in mulberry or 'flow black'. The round earthenware trivet measures 6-1/2 inches in diameter. A hole was drilled through for hanging on a hook.
The tile shows a fantasy image of a dressed fox and bear conversing at a table in a pub. The image is titled ‘POLITICIANS’. The origin of this image was the caricature of Reynard the Fox, a shrewd, sly dishonest political who lies, steals and cheats. He is seen here talking with Bruin the Bear, a politician known as a skilled mediator who negotiates for peace. Stories about Reynard and his cohorts in politics and life date back to medieval times, making satirical fun of warring nations. A relevant image for our times, with a spark of humor and mirth to brighten you day.
The ironstone tile is in great condition, with an intentionally drilled hole, a tiny ding on the edge and no chips, cracks, stains, or repairs. Fine glaze crazing and very minor wear consistent with age and prior use.
The stand is unmarked and the maker is unknown, thought surely a pottery manufacturer in Staffordshire England or possibly Scotland in the mid-to-late 19th century. A delightful and unusual piece.