An 8¾" Staffordshire plate in blue transfer, "Nahant Hotel [Near] Boston."
Two potteries are known to have produced table wares with nearly identical patterns featuring the Nahant Hotel. This plate is an example of pieces manufactured by Ralph Stevenson, which incorporated an acorn and oak leaves border. (The other manufacturer, Joseph Stubbs, used a spread eagle border.)
The depiction of the Nahant Hotel on this piece appears to have been taken from an illustration that appeared in Caleb Snow's "A History of Boston" in 1825.
According to various sources, the Nahant Hotel was built in 1822 and provided lodging to visitors beginning in 1823 and continuing until 1861, when it was destroyed by a fire.
Although the name is of the maker of this plate is not present on the piece, the manufacturer can be identified by the style of the printed border and the type of design used to frame the name of the pattern on the back stamp. Ralph Stevenson operated a pottery in the Lower Manufactory, Cobridge, Staffordshire, England, producing mostly between 1810 and 1835. Taking into account the years the pottery operated and the date the hotel opened, one could reasonably say the plate dates to 1825-1835.
Near the printed title of the pattern on the back is what may be an impressed mark. We have not been able to find a similar mark in any of the sources to which we have access.
The plate is in good condition for its age and for having been used at least for a time in the past. There do not appear to be any chips, cracks or significant repairs. There is a small amount of wear (flaking) to the edge. Light to moderate surface wear can be found in the center of the front of the plate. As is common with pieces of this vintage and origin, there are some burst bubbles, stilt marks and random inclusions in the glaze. There is also crazing in the glaze, and there appears that a line formed in the clay during the molding of the plate -- this is visible only from the front and does not carry through to the back, and is not, apparently, a crack. A previous owner appears to have reinforced this line with epoxy (a pointless act), but this is nearly invisible. In any case, the line appears to be quite stable, and not likely to break open.
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