EXQUISITE handpainted roses in the "Billingsley" style adorn this gilded shell tray from the famed Derby China Works on King Street. This gorgeous corner plate or serving tray has the buttery feel and look of old bone china. Six handpainted roses are surrounded by a trailing garland of blue cornflowers, framed by sprays of honey-gold leaves. Each rose is slightly different, painted in soft pink enamel, the creamy white of the porcelain shining through to create highlights and depth. The scalloped rim is generously hand-gilded with rococo shapes of acanthus leaves, shells and scrolls. The pierced handle provides both ornamentation and practicality. Shapes such as this were often displayed standing on the handle as 'corner dishes'. The rare 'Rose Barbeau' pattern dates to the early 1800's. (Le barbeau is French for cornflower or le bleuet.) This pattern was still being produced at King Street one hundred years later and is shown in the 1934-35 illustrated catalogue.
This plate is in very good condition and appears to have been displayed from the outset. There are no utensil marks nor wear to the gilded rim. Slight oxidation to the gilded leaves and circle on the centre of the plate. Slight stress hairlines at the handle and scalloped indents, barely visible. Red handpainted S.H.D. crossed swords mark for either Stevenson & Hancock (1863-66) or Sampson Hancock (1866 ff). The mark unfortunately tells us no more than the date range of 1863-1935 as this manufactory did not adopt the "England' mark in accordance with the American McKinley Tariff & Trades Act of 1891. Impressed numerals '80', very small and faint. No other factory or workers' marks. Measures 8.75"L x 7.5"W x 1"H.
The Old Crown Derby China Works operated on King Street from 1848-1935. This small operation owned the moulds and patterns from the original Nottingham Road factory and faithfully maintained the traditional quality and methods - all decoration was done by hand with no printing. As Sampson Hancock wrote in 1875: ". . many of the articles made previous to 1848 by the old firm have been sent to us to match, including three separate commands from the Queen (Victoria), besides many of the most eminent collectors and admirers of antique china." Sampson Hancock (1817-1898) was the grandson of John Hancock (1757-1847), who had been apprenticed to William Duesbury at the original Derby China Factory in the 1700's. This remarkable family continued to be directly involved in Derby porcelain manufacture until the death of Henry Sampson Hancock (painter) in 1934. Royal Crown Derby purchased the King Street factory in 1935, thus validating the claim of 'china having been made continuously, since about 1750, in the famous old town of Derby. (Twitchett)
REFERENCE: John Twitchett & Betty Bailey, ROYAL CROWN DERBY, 1976 Barrie & Jenkins
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