A lovely set of 8 Willetts "American Belleek" plates, hand painted in soft detail on a white background with scalloped borders highlighted in gilt. Four of the large plates are signed by the artist, J. A. Bengel, and dated 1910.
The story of Belleek porcelain started in County Fermanagh, Ireland in a little town called Belleek around 1857. There potters perfected an eggshell-thin translucent china with a pearly iridescent glaze. Because of the poor living conditions in Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, many of these skilled potters crossed the ocean to America, "the land of opportunity." They quickly found employment with American potters trying to perfect a thinner more delicate china and succeeded in producing what we now know as American Belleek. The Willets Manufacturing Company started producing American Belleek in 1879 and soon marketed pieces that rivaled the 19th century porcelain giants such as Limoges, Dresden, and British bone china. Willets Belleek is highly sought by collectors as pieces seldom appear on the market.
The plates are in excellent condition.
Size: 4 dessert plates, 7 7/8" Diameter 4 bread and butter plates, 5 ½" Diameter.