RARE PAIR of 4.5" round Royal Crown Derby 'Alton' trays in blue Mikado pattern dated 1954 and 1955. These small, fluted dishes have beautifully moulded and gilded edges, rich blue enamelling and soft printing that glows under the glaze. The translucent white bone china is decorated with familiar Mikado scenes. Suitable for bon-bons, mints, chocolate truffles or your diamond rings! Each dish has eight scallops, a form sometimes described as 'Sheffield' after the traditional silver shapes. Osmaston Road Factory date cypher in green for 1954 and 1955. Both trays are in very good condition without hairlines, cracks or restorations. Measure 4.5"/11cmD. The last picture shows other nut and relish trays listed separately.
Known as 'Alton' trays, these are very scarce indeed. A 1923 price list for D.R. Dingwall Limited of Winnipeg has 'Mikado Bon bon dishes' in three sizes selling for $3, $4 and $5. Royal Crown Derby's new Mikado tableware does not include these useful little trays. Versatile and practical, they have survived 60 years in great condition. I do sometimes wonder if any Mikado ever made it out of the china cabinet!
MIKADO PATTERN was designed in 1894 by RCD Art Director Thomas Amos Reed. It was inspired by rice paper drawings that he had obtained in the Far East. Some of the large pieces are decorated with the complete design and smaller pieces show different chapters from the story. The romantic legend of the star-crossed lovers is set against a backdrop of gardens, pagodas, rivers, mountains and delicate leaf tracery.
In the 17C, Chinese porcelain was imported to Europe where its meticulous detail and exquisite decoration inspired the nascent china manufacturers. Patterns in the Oriental taste were popular throughout Britain, especially in the Victorian era. Blue Mikado was originally recorded in RCD Pattern Book 9 as #4001 on the Dover shape. In Canada, Cassidy’s sold over ten million pieces in eight years from 1950-58. The design was retired in 1997. A modern interpretation of this pattern was launched by RCD in 2014 in seven colourways including blue.
For more on 'Mikado' (from the Royal Crown Derby Museum) go to 'Muses Antiques' website or Facebook page.