Friday, 7 July 2017

"Aztec" Inspired Tube-Lined Cotswold Tableware

A tube-lined coffee cup and saucer came up for sale recently and I was unable to resist! I call this the "Aztec" tableware design simply because of the stepped line motif and the same little tubed rectangles that Charlotte Rhead used in her Aztec pattern 2800.

The design is simple but must have taken a lot of effort, much more so than the stitched edge tableware. I wonder if the tube-liners had to mark out the line lengths before applying the slip before tube-lining, or whether their practised eye meant the ends of the stepped line would always join up correctly. Not to mention all those fiddly small rectangles.

Group of "Aztec" tableware on Cotswold shapes

There are four versions of the design in the pattern books. The tube-lining with black slip is identical for all of them, they just differ in the colour decoration.

Pattern 3213 has scarlet and gold filled pairs of rectangles, gold edge and scarlet and black inner lines. Having the gold probably means this was the expensive version.

Detail of pattern 3213

Pattern 3219 has scarlet and orange filled pairs of rectangles, scarlet edge and scarlet and black inner lines.

Detail of pattern 3219

Pattern 3220 has scarlet and orange filled pairs of rectangles, orange edge and orange and black inner lines. I have yet to see an example in this colourway.

Pattern 3223 has just the tube-lining and no coloured decoration.

Detail of pattern 3223

All the examples I have seen have AGR1 backstamp style which includes the Cotswold shape registration number. This style was used until about the end of 1934. The design date of these “Aztec” tableware patterns is estimated to be October 1933 and because examples are not common I doubt production continued for long.

Backstamp style found on these designs

In my notes for these designs I have recorded the observation that someone brought  a similar coffee cup and saucer in pattern 3223 shown above for Bernard Bumpus to comment on at the Charlotte Rhead Collectors Day on 30th July 2000. Since then, there have been very occasional examples for sale on Ebay. Some wide rimmed soup bowls and cream and sugar set in pattern 3213 and coffee pot in pattern 3219. So I am fairly sure there are more examples circulating or in peoples collections.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Table Lamp Shapes (Update 2)

Returning again to the subject of Crown Ducal table lamps, here we have two discoveries, both without conventional pattern numbers but both are documented in the sample book held at the Stoke-on-Trent library.

Lamp pattern S.17 on shape 401

The first is a variation of Charlotte Rhead's chain patterns 4100 and 4298.

Pattern S.17 on table lamp shape 401

Detail at top of lamp

It is documented in the sample book as S.17 where the text reads:

Blue matt
Pattern as S.15
Coloured Silver & Goods Blue
Silver Bands
White Background

There are some rough pencil sketches and these are annotated where the silver lines are to go. The entry is written in pencil but there is the number 401 added in black ink, 401 is the shape number of this lamp. The information for S.15 is a sketch of a shape 208 vase with the text “Off White Matt Glaze Tubed in Dark Brown Lustred in Orange & Black Orange Bands” Everything about the sketch and the description tallies with what collectors know as pattern 4100, Orange Chain. 

This information in itself is quite interesting as I believe S.15 and 4100 are one of the few pattern pairings that link the sample book with the pattern book. I have recognised a few others, particularly tableware patterns where pattern numbers have been added to the sample book. If sufficient tie points could be found between the two books it could become a resource to help with design dating. There are fewer entries in the sample book and probably not in continuous use, but it does cover designs dated from 1935 until 1942.

Back to S.15, it must also help determine the date for the introduction of the 208 shape, which would be around the time of this entry, very early in 1935. I do not believe it can be earlier than 1935 because no example of a shape 208 vase has yet been seen with a period 1 backstamp and in a previous post I estimated the the period 1-2 boundary to be the end of 1934.

The original Crown Ducal label is still inside the lamp

Astonishingly the original factory hand written label is still inside the lamp with the inscription “Lamp 401 S17”, and in the typical habit of decorators labelling errors the facsimile signature of Fanny Morrey and the pattern mark of S.18.

A version of Fanny Morreys mark and an incorrect tube-lined S.18

Lamp pattern S.36 on shape “Bamboo” or E6

This lamp base was recently auctioned with online publicity. Again, it fits the sample book description perfectly.

Pattern S.36 on table lamp shape "Bamboo"or E6

The sample book entry reads:

New shape Bamboo
Fawn glaze. Full Strength
Mottled White
Orange Lustre Bamboo
2 green on leaves
Black centres

Fortunately there is a drawing of the “Bamboo” lamp shape in the pattern book for pattern 4133, (which has the same shape but is decorated differently), so we can be confident that the example in the picture does correspond to the S.36 description. The shape name in that document is referred to as E6. The design age of the Bamboo lamp, and 4133 will be around the same time as the S15, S17 and 4100 items above, that is early 1935.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Tube-Lined Stitched Edged Tableware Designs

Pattern 3049 is the most easily found of the Crown Ducal “Stitched Edge” tableware designs. The February 1934 edition of the Pottery Gazette reported that:  

"Another new pattern that is sure to please, and which seems bound to result in solid business, is the "Stitch", a pattern which, though characterised by simplicity, has a strong power of appeal. This pattern, which is also depicted in the group photograph here reproduced, is offered in three different colourings, and at a very moderate price. It consists of a rather intriguing manipulation in tube-lining under the glaze, and is applied to the new "Cotswold" shape, which conveys the impression of pottery that is produced on the wheel by means of throwing and turning." 

The photograph from this article is shown below.

Stitched Edge (3049) Cotswold tableware on the right. Also shown are either Rialto (3140) or Belfast (3154) on the left and Daffodil (3234) in the centre.
Below are a few newspaper advertisements from around the world which would support the idea that the tube-lined stitched edge tableware was a commercial success.

Stitched Edge Cotswold tableware advert in a USA newspaper, The Binghamton Press of 27 March 1934.

Stitched Edge Cotswold tableware advert in a Canadian newspaper, The Montreal Gazette of 25 January 1934.

Stitched Edge Cotswold tableware advert in an Australian newspaper, The Adelaide Advertiser of 18 October 1935

Pattern 2864 is is believed to be the earliest recorded tube-lined tableware design for Crown Ducal by Charlotte Rhead. No examples have a pattern number on them, nor does a pattern book exist with this number. However, the evidence comes from the entry for pattern 3168 where the design for the large, black stitched edged trays and salad bowls is recorded. The number 3168 is crossed out and a note “Use 2864” written beside it. A similar note is beside entry 3167 which is the alternating black and orange large stitched edge design which says “Use 3049”. Pattern 3049 is present in the pattern book as the equivalent black and orange stitched edge Cotswold tableware, therefore it is reasonable to assign 2864 to the black slip version.

This suggests that the Cotswold tableware range were the original stitched edged designs. A little later, the much larger stitches on the "USA" salad bowls and trays were given different pattern numbers but by the time production had begun all shapes with the same colour stitches had the same original pattern numbers.

The third stitched edge slip colour often found is matt blue for which the pattern number is unrecorded. But 3171 is the number for blue stitch on the large salad bowls and trays, so that is the number I use based on the principle used in the pattern book for the other colour versions.

Pattern 2864 stitched edge design in black slip on Cotswold shape coffee duo

Pattern 3049 stitched edge design in orange and black slip on Cotswold shape trio

Pattern 3049 stitched edge design in orange and black slip on Cotswold tray or 17" charger and its base markings
Pattern 3171 stitched edge design in matt blue slip on Cotswold shape coffee duo

One interesting discovery from this research is that the orange and black, 3049, pattern is clearly given a name in the pattern book, but is difficult to read. Bernard Bumpus must have had the same problem because he scoured the books for pattern names but never put this one in his books. Below is an image of the name. My interpretation of it is "Niva" For a while I struggled to make sense of this until an internet search found out it is a girls name that may have been more popular in the early 20th century than today.

The pattern name for 3049 is Niva?
Examples of pattern 3049, Niva, tableware have been seen with an extra backstamp "EXCLUSIVE TO HARRODS KNIGHTSBRIDGE LONDON, S.W.1." which would have been a useful endorsement of the design. Another observation is that some items have the AGR3 backstamp style indicating they were produced in the mid 1950s after the WWII restrictions of decorated pottery were lifted and indeed after Charlottes death.

Before leaving the plain stitched edge Cotswold tableware of 1933, the other colourways should be recorded. None of which have been seen to date.
3048 Orange slip (Not yet seen)
3050 Crimson slip (Not yet seen)
3051 Alternating black and crimson slips (Not yet seen)

Pattern 3122 is a development of the plain black stitched edge Cotswold tableware (2864). In the pattern book there are three possible colour schemes for the enamelled printed centre, but two have been crossed out, possibly at different times. The floral design is printed in black and then enamelled either in yellow, orange and two greens which is the surviving version in the book, or yellow, fawn, crimson, peach and blue. The third version is similar to the first in greens, yellow and brown but with higher contrasting colours

Two colour variations of pattern 3122
One has to speculate as to whether or not this is Charlotte's first foray into print design. Crown Ducal was enjoying the success of the print and enamel Sunburst design and perhaps this is Charlotte's attempt at combining the current fashion for simple colourful floral prints with her trademark tube-lining. Certainly it is a  pleasing design and was quite successful since examples appear for sale quite frequently, especially in the USA.

Charlotte was busy in the summer of 1933 with her tableware designs. Again, using the black stitched edge format she created her nurseryware series.

Nurseryware series 3130-3135
The patterns are:
3130 The maid was in the garden
3131 Who said dinner?
3132 Is it carrots?
3133 Little Boy Blue
3134 Tom the pipers son
3135 Red Riding Hood

Several other nursery ware designs were made that do not have pattern numbers, these may have been samples or commissions. But "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?" and "Polly put the kettle on" appear occasionally and so these designs probably went into production too.

A study of the backstamp styles suggests that patterns 3131, 3133 and 3135 continued to be produced while Charlotte remained at Richardsons and for patterns 3131 and 3133 continued after she had left. Little Boy Blue has been seen with the AGR4 backstamp style which probably means they were still being made in the 1960’s. This makes Little Boy Blue her longest running pattern in production, almost thirty years.

It is interesting to note that the number of  Little Boy Blue and Who said dinner? items made during the the WWII restrictions period of 1942-1952 greatly exceeds the total nurseryware production  made outwith this period. Perhaps about a quarter of these have been found outside the UK in the usual Crown Ducal export markets. But even so, is it possible that the nurseryware was exempt from the restrictions on the public being able to buy decorated pottery? Or just the result of a consumer requirement caused by the post war 1946 baby boom!?

The next group of pattern numbers are those that introduce the "USA salad bowl and tray" designs. The trays are usually displayed as large wall chargers because the base rim is pierced for a hanging wire. They were clearly designed for the USA market, where most examples have been recorded, and quite possibly at the request of Richardson's agents in New York, Maddock & Miller. Bernard Bumpus quotes in his book from an advertisement for the company that mentions that there are twelve decorations stocked and the advertisement included a picture of the Blossom pattern. I have not been able to track down the reference yet and without any further information it is difficult to identify the twelve specific designs. Also it is not clear if all the designs were tube-lined, and if one includes the enamelled designs produced on these shapes and the tube-lined trailing laurel leaf border designs as well, then it is easy to exceed 12 decorations.

The designs with large stitched edges are:
3167 Alternating black and orange slips (Use 3049)
3168 Black slip (Use 2864)
3169 Alternating black and orange slips with fruit tree centre
3170 Alternating black and orange slips with dragon centre
3171 Matt blue slip
3172 Alternating matt blue and Danube blue slips with fruit tree centre. Tree trunks are Danube blue, leaves and pebbles are matt blue and the apples are in salmon slip.

Pattern 3172
3173 Cotswold shape matt blue slip stitch on top of plate instead of over edge. (Not yet seen)
3221 Alternating matt blue and Danube blue slips with bird centre. (Not yet seen)
3257 Alternating matt blue and Danube blue slips with Blossom centre.
3258 Alternating black and orange slips with Blossom centre
3259 Alternating black and orange slips with  fruit tree centre (Use 3169)

Up to this point most of the tube-lined tableware designs will be familiar to collectors, either from examples seen or from reading "Collecting Rhead Pottery" by Bernard Bumpus. But we have hardly started. Charlotte continued to design more and more tube-lined tableware designs. Mostly for the Cotswold tableware shape, but also a lot for the Queen Anne shape that was popular in the USA, and to a much lesser extent patterns were made for the No 3, Florentine, Avon, Windsor and Regent ranges. Almost all of these are as yet unseen and I would be surprised if many went into proper production.

I will limit these notes to designs with either the simple or large tube-lined stitched edge. The first is a beautiful piece of tube-lining design on a tableware plate, although it is impossible to imagine it being used as tableware, it must have lived in the china cabinet.

3260 named "Florentine" (not to be confused with the Florentine tableware shape range!), which is also the name of the centre design which is similar to the Blossom centre design. There is a trailing twin stem border in the verge. The shape range is not specified, but the sketch of the rim is not perfectly round so it will be one of the moulded tableware ranges with gently scalloped plate rims. I am quite sure it is the No3 shape range as it has moulded dentilled edges which can accommodate the modified shape slip stitches. There is also a design detail for covered dish handles so it has to be a tableware shape range and not fancies or salad bowls and trays. The stitches are tube-lined slip covering the dentilled moulding of the plate.

Pattern 3260 Florentine, the stitches overlay the dentilled moulding of the No3 shaped plate.

3261 Alternating matt blue and Danube blue stitched edge "Grindley Hotel". A rather ambiguous description but since Grindley Hotel Ware was made by another pottery company, was this perhaps to be a joint venture with Richardsons applying  tube-lining to Grindleys hard wearing vitreous china for the hotel and restaurant market. (Not yet seen)

3262 Shape range No3 which is the heavily embossed tableware range with fruit trees and various fruiting and flowering plants on the plate shoulders. (See picture above of pattern 3260 which is on No3 shape). Trailing twin stem border in the verge and alternate stitched edge decorated in alternating black and orange slip and Blossom centre.This pattern is not properly illustrated but my best guess is that this is the same as 3260 except in different colours and with Blossom centre rather than Florentine centre. (Not yet seen)

3288 Alternating matt blue and Danube blue large stitched edge and dark, (Danube?), blue edge line, Blossom centre on the "New Large Punch Bowl" This is another ambiguous description that appears to be the same as 3257 but with a blue edge line. However the "New Large Punch Bowl" reference implies a different shape and I wonder if this is a reference to the giant 17" diameter bowls which are known to exist from an example of pattern 3191, the sailing ship design. (Not yet seen)

3347 Trailing twin stem border in the verge and alternate stitched edge decorated in alternating black and scarlet slip. Shape range not specified but the sketch it for the square plate with scalloped edges which may be the Regent range. (Not yet seen)

3370 A drawing but no description! Essentially as 3260, alternating matt blue and Danube blue stitched edge, trailing twin stem border in the verge, and Florentine centre. But, tableware shape looks to be round with scalloped edges, (Regent?), and is adjacent to other tableware designs with yellow glaze instead of the usual ivory and the sketch is shaded yellow like those. (Not yet seen)

3375 Essentially as 3260, alternating matt blue and Danube blue stitched edge, trailing twin stem border in the verge, but with Blossom centre. Round tableware shape shape with scalloped edges, but explicitly noted as No3 shape. (Not yet seen)

3376 Trailing twin stem border in the verge and alternate stitched edge decorated in alternating matt blue and Danube blue slips, no centre design. Cotswold shape range. (Not yet seen)

A mysterious group of four patterns, two colours and the words "Big Stitch". No drawings or other description or the ware to apply it to, but I presume them to be tube-lined  because Danube and Matt Blue are slip colours.
3407 Brown & Orange Big Stitch. (Not yet seen)
3408 Black & Orange Big Stitch. (Not yet seen)
3409 Brown & Green Big Stitch. (Not yet seen)
3410 Danube & Matt Blue Big Stitch. (Not yet seen)

3432 Simple green stitched edge on Cotswold. The description does not specify tube-lining, so I use pattern 4108 instead which appears to be exactly the same but does specify tube-lining.

3473 As 3376 only under yellow glaze. (Not yet seen)

3536 An extraordinarily complex tube-lined design on Cotswold shape. Imagine pattern 3376 with the addition of stitched spokes radiating across the plate shoulder from the trailing twin stem border in the verge. Within each segment, (bounded on three sides by stitched lines and one side by the stem border), there is a stem of laurel leaves. They have the same shape as those in the post Rhead era designs for patterns 6568, 6570 & 6571 but are tube-lined in the two blue colours of slip. (Not yet seen)

3537 The same as 3536 but tube-lined in orange and black slips. I have tried to draw the layout of patterns 3536 and 3537 below. (Not yet seen)

A sketch of the coloured slip design for patterns 3536 and 3537 on Cotswold tableware

The next design does not explicitly state tube-lining, but appears so similar to a previous pattern that it may be tube-lined.

3635 as 3376, trailing twin stem border in the verge and alternate stitched edge decorated in alternating green and black, no centre design. Cotswold shape range. (Not yet seen)

3853 as 3049 stitched edge decorated in alternating orange and black on Florentine shaped tableware and with tube-lined decorated handles. (Not yet seen)

4108 Back to the simplest and earliest stitched edge designs. Here we have green slip on Cotswold shape.
Pattern 4108 stitched edge design in green slip on Cotswold shaped sugar bowl

5027 Blue slip sponged solid face with tube-lined white slip stitched edge. (Not yet seen)

5485 Tube-lined blue stitched edge, two blue stitches alternating with one gold painted stitch.Tube-lining under white glaze. Probably Avon and Windsor shaped tableware. Also gold and blue slip decoration on handles and gold line work. (Not yet seen)

5694 Green slip stitched edge on Cotswold shape with yellow glaze. A fairly popular recycling of the design especially for export, with most examples seen in New Zealand.

Patter 5694 stitched edge design in green slip with yellow glaze

5950 Blue slip stitched edge on Cotswold shape with pink glaze. (Not yet seen)

More patterns will no doubt come to light, but collectors should be aware that there are a very large number of stitched edge Crown Ducal designs and many of them are applied with lustres or enamels. If you find an unusual stitched edge design do not assume it is tube-lined. Touch is the best way to determine if slip was used because the decoration will feel raised.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Snow Glaze (Book Update 2)

In this update regarding Charlotte's snow glaze I have images of 2 tableware designs that were previously recorded as "unseen yet". Another where I have to amend what I wrote in the first update blog posting. And, sad to say, discovered an error in the backstamp section of the book.

1. Examples of patterns 5567 and 5600 discovered.

Example of pattern 5567

Example of pattern 5600

Nothing really to add except that this enourages the idea that those patterns labelled "unseen as yet" may yet turn up with a little patience and a watchful eye.

3. Patterns 5032 and 5035.

Example of pattern 5032 in green slip

If you are interested please read what I wrote about pattern 5032 in my previous post about this pattern 

That was about finding examples of pattern 5032 in yellow, blue and green slip in Australia and New Zealand. All three colourways had a design element missing, namely the gold line and dots. I presumed, wrongly, that perhaps the design was simplified before going into production and leaving out the gold decoration. Well here we have an example, in green, with the gold trim just as the pattern book describes. So I deem this a true example of pattern 5032.

What about those items photographed for the previous snow glaze update. Are they pattern 5032 finished without gold or are they pattern 5035?

Pattern 5035 is exactly as those items, (without the gold), but I never thought to include the design in the snow glaze book or list because the pattern book specifically states White Glaze rather than Snow Glaze. It remains inconclusive, those items could be 5032 without gold applied or they could be 5035 and the pattern book entry wrongly records the glaze type. We will probably never know, because this design never went through the hands of paintresses, so I doubt an example will ever be found with a pattern number on the reverse.

3. Error in the book on page 12 with an incorrect backstamp image.

The book was written and produced before the discovery that the AGR5 backstamp style includes two similar styles that define two distinct production periods. I used the wrong one in the book  - I just picked the crispest image that I had at the time, which was not from a snow glazed item. How these things come back to haunt us!

Very occasionally snow glaze items may have an AGR5 style mark, it should be the one on the left not the right

On page 12 of the snow glaze book there is the image of the backstamp on the right - it should be the one on the left. To my knowledge no examples of ware with snow glaze, fancies or tableware, was ever produced post June 1942 so none should exist with the backstamp on the right. Famous last words!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Derby Tableware Shape - The Netherlands Connection

Here are some notes that may be of interest to owners of Crown Ducal tableware in the Netherlands. Many thanks to Joost and Bart for sending me the information and pictures used to compile this post. They contacted me to find out more about their Crown Ducal china but I have been unable to find period documents recording their patterns. As with all things Crown Ducal, that is not particularly unusual.

The Crown Ducal pattern books do contain occasional references to designs created specifically for "Holland" and these are often linked to the unfamiliar "Derby" shape for tableware. There are also at least two references to a client in Amsterdam of A G Richardson in the sample design book at the Stoke-on-Trent library.

So I think it is safe to say that Richardsons had at least one trading partner in the Netherlands who commissioned not only specific designs but perhaps a tableware shape made solely for the Dutch market.

The Derby shape from the pattern books and actual examples

This shape name "Derby" is recorded in the pattern books, but as usual the pattern descriptions are often ambiguous with question marks after the name and penciled references to another untypical Crown Ducal shape. Some references seen with "Derby" have the handle shape sketch and are accompanied with the word "Holland". That is my premise that the Derby shape was created primarily for the Netherlands market.

Once I had received more than one set of images of this shape, both from the Netherlands, I was satisfied that the link between the shape name and the examples seemed reasonable.

Pattern 4399 entry from the pattern book

Teacup in unknown pattern but showing handle and foot as in pattern book sketch

The pattern book entry for 4399 shown above does not have the word Holland like many others but does have the best sketch showing the handle and the foot to the cup.

The few definite pattern book entries for the Derby shape are pattern numbers 4386-4391 and 4394-4400. Most are coloured band decoration, some band & line, some freehand leaf/floral and a wonderful art deco line design of concentric circles and sets of parallel lines.

In the Crown Ducal Sample book, The Derby shape patterns are S453, which is the same as pattern 4390 with crimson brown and grey bands. Two unnumbered entries with the "Homer" floral spray and border transfer and the "Fantasy" floral spray and border transfer. S454 with the "Killarney" floral spray transfer and S455 with a Harlequin floral spray transfer.

The photographs I have received from the Netherlands match none of these designs. Both are band and line patterns and the shapes of the hollowware are distinctly different to other shapes from Crown Ducal at this time, There are elements taken from Regent, Victory, Avon and Ionic to create a new shape range.. An additional shape not seen before in other Crown Ducal shape ranges is a large flat serving dish with drain holes believed to be used for presenting asparagus at table.

It has to be said that twin handled soup coupes and tea cups from the Avon range of tableware have similar shaped handles to the Derby teacup.  Whether this is coincidence, or they are the same style and yet another example of Richardsons mixing and matching to create an en suite collection will probably have to wait until examples can be inspected hands on at the same time.

Black and red lines with three grey bands (patttern 2848)

Black and red lines with three grey bands (patttern 2848)

Blue and yellow lines with wide grey band (unknown pattern)

Blue and yellow lines with wide grey band (unknown pattern)

Both correspondents have confirmed that the wide style of teacup would have been the style preferred in that country at the time and therefore this may have been the driving factor in creating a new range of hollowware for that market.

The backstamp styles on the pottery imply they would have been made around 1935, but clearly the pattern number, (2848), on the black and red lined design indicates a pattern from 1933. Sadly one which predates the surviving pattern books which means there is no confirmation from period documents.

The Netherlands business connection

In the Crown Ducal sample book there are occasional references to companies that did business with Richardsons, for example Maddock & Miller Inc in New York Cassidy's in Toronto and Rowntrees in York. 

A name that appears twice is A.P. Verwoerd, Amsterdam. The first is dated 26 July 1935 with brief description for 11 teaset designs on various shapes, (not including Derby), with known lithograph patterns and dainty freehand floral patterns. This entry occurs between samples S89 and S90.

Then a second A.P. Verwoerd entry has design S451 (Chatham floral lithograph on bon bon comports and bedside sets), and S452 (similar shapes but with the Cotswold Rose floral lithograph). As previously mentioned, S453 is more interesting, it is an illustration of a coloured band design for use on the Derby shape, with outer grey band and inner crimson brown band accompanied with the text "Patt as 4390". Next comes reference to 4 more floral transfer designs for the Derby shape. This cluster of entries are not dated themselves but nearby unrelated entries are S418 dated October 28th 1937 and after S472 there is the date January 21st 1938 so this Verwoerd reference must surely date to end of 1937 or very early 1938.

Detective work has revealed that there was an Adriaan Pieter Verwoerd and wife Roosje who had two china shops in Amsterdam, originally one on P.C. Hooftstraat and later, a second on Rokin - both well known shopping streets. The dates of when these shops were operational is unknown but the key dates in A. P. Verwoerds life appear to fit very well with an earthenware and porcelain china business in the 1930's, (b.1889, m. 1915 d. 1964).

We cannot be sure how long the association between Richardsons and Verwoerd lasted but it would probably have ended by the onset of WW2. Searching for all references to Holland in the pattern books, not those just relating to the Derby shape, there are entries for patterns 3210, 3280, 3782-3785, 3789, 4127-4129, 4156-4159,4239-4242, 4386-4388, 4389-4397. These numbers have design dates from autumn 1933 until summer 1935.

An incomplete story 

The red, black and grey band pattern illustrated above has the number 2848 but there is no additional evidence that the Derby shape existed this early, (spring 1933). It was common for Richardsons to use the same pattern number when the the design was used on several shape ranges. Pattern 2848 may well have been a band and line design on Victory or Cotswold shaped tableware and retained this number when applied to the Derby shape in mid 1935 which is the earliest reference to Derby in the pattern books. Although we can confidently say that there was some kind of trading relationship between these two companies from mid 1935 until the end of 1937 the backstamp styles on both these patterns suggest a pre-1935 date of manufacture.

It would be interesting to understand how this relationship came about. The Netherlands had it own successful ceramics industry, What advantage would the Verwoerds have in asking a UK company to produce ware in patterns and shapes that could readily be manufactured in the home country. The picture below shows a teapot warming stand made by Mosa Maastricht  and although not an exact pattern match sits well with the Crown Ducal ware and has a similar finish.

The teapaot warming stand  is made by the Mosa Maastrichtt company

Perhaps it is time to visit Amsterdam and search the antique and bric-a-brac shops and markets. Surely somewhere there is a surviving piece of Derby shaped tableware in one of the documented patterns waiting to be found.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Crown Ducal shapes 146 & 211

These two shapes have been chosen for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they appear together in an advertisement from 1936. Admittedly they look rather distorted being created from a sketch rather than a photograph. Nevertheless it is nice to see a period illustration of Charlotte’s work apart from the trade journal entries and also gives an insight into when a particular pattern was popular in the shops. Secondly, and more interestingly, the moulds for these shapes were clearly modified at some time while Charlotte was using them for her tube-lined designs and hence offer useful information about when a particular item was manufactured.

Newspaper advertisement for pattern 3274 Stitch

The illustrated advertisement for Stitch includes stylised pictures of shapes 211 and 146 (or 145). It appeared in the West Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail on December 17th 1936 as part of an illustrated Christmas gifts advertisement for the Binns department store in Hartlepool.

Shape 146


Crown Ducal shape 146

With the exception of 12” and 14” wall chargers, the shape 146 vase is Crown Ducal’s most popular shape for fancies. It has been seen with most of Charlotte’s designs from 2681 through to 6353. The few not seen yet, such as 4538, 4922, 4925 and 4957 are probably just because they are rare patterns anyway, but there is no reason to doubt that examples might have been made and perhaps a rare survivor will turn up in the future. The exceptions are the well known Coronation patterns 4724 and 4725 which are probably the two decorations unlikely to be found on this shape. Shape 146 was not among the very restricted number of flower vases and jugs that were used for Coronation Ware. 

Vases can be found with or without a handle, with about 12% not having handles. Virtually all examples without handles were made pre-1936, but as ever with Crown Ducal production there will be exceptions to the rule.

Left, incised shape number on early examples, right, moulded number on later examples

The shape number 146 can either appear as scratched/incised numerals into the pot with a pointed tool or as raised numerals in a rectangular moulded recess. There is a clear cut division where the incised version ceased to be used and from then on the moulded version takes over. Most Hydrangea 3797 examples have incised shape numbers. Most Patch 4015, Blue Peony 4016 and Persian Rose 4040 examples have moulded shape numbers, but 4016 and 4040 have been seen with incised numbers. The date when the mould design changed must have been sometime quite early in the production period of these two patterns and also well into period 2 because of the number of shape146 items with AGR2 backstamp styles. Previously I have estimated that the period 1–2 boundary would be at the start of 1935. If this still holds good then perhaps late spring/early summer 1935 is a good estimate for the changeover. This time would also satisfy the observation that all Tudor Rose and Manchu examples have the moulded shape number version.

If you are checking your vase and it does not have the moulded shape impression, but you cannot find the incised number - then this is not unusual. Some of the glazes, when applied very thickly can fill in the incised mark. Also, there was a habit in the earlier years for the decorators to tube-line the shape number on the base and sometimes this may have been over the top of the incised mark.

Shape 211


Crown Ducal shape 211

The vase shape 211 was one of the “new shapes” introduced in 1936. It becomes a popular shape with Tudor Rose 4491, Manchu 4511 and many of the later patterns. It can be found with older designs, but not in large numbers as they would have been made at the tail end of these pattern production runs, or perhaps as special orders after main production run had ceased. Looking at patterns older than 4491, then examples of 4318, 4300, 4298, 4088, 4016, 4015 and 3274 have been seen in roughly diminishing numbers, except for a little spike with the ever popular Stitch 3274. One example has been seen with the Byzantine/Danube 2801 pattern, but I believe that may be a later production. No examples of the popular patterns Byzantine 2681, Rhodian 3274 or the less common early designs have been recorded so far on the 211 shape which is an observation common to most of the younger shapes. This may impact on collecting strategies, (should they exist!), as it means that it will be most unlikely that anyone will ever find a Lotus Leaves 2682, Turin 2691 or Aztec 2800 pattern vase with shape 211. 

The shape can be found with no handles, one set of handles or two sets, very roughly in the proportions of 2:1:7. The examples with one set of handles are the rarest and seem to occur only on the earliest productions of the shape, (4016, 4318, 4491, 4511 and 4521). Most, if not all of these were made in 1936. The majority of vases with no handles follow the same rules, but there are also quite a few exceptions, so it may be possible to find handleless examples on any design that was also made with two handles – but they are just less common.

Left, early examples have the dot after 211, right, the dot is missing on later examples.

On the base of each vase is a rectangular moulded recess with the shape number 211. Eagle eyed observers may have noticed that sometimes the number is followed by a full stop and sometimes the stop is absent. The first instinct is to assume that this could be used to date mark a vase. Presumably a mould for shape 211 vases was broken and its replacement had the shape number made slightly differently.

A study of many observations of pattern number, backstamp style and shape number impression style does indeed show an age relationship. Examples of Caliph 5411 made in period 2, (AGR2 backstamp style), have the full stop after the shape number 211. Examples of Tarragona 5623 made in period 2 do not have the full stop. The approximate design date for Caliph is late summer 1937 and for Tarragona is early summer 1938. So it seems likely that sometime between these two dates the mould(s) for shape 211 were remade with a very slight design change. Late spring or early summer 1938 would be a good estimate for the change.

The Byzantine/Danube 2801 vase mentioned earlier does not have the dot in the shape impression and adds weight to the idea that this item was probably a special order made outwith the main production period of 1933-1935 for this design.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Charlotte Rhead facsimile signatures. Part 1

In his books Bernard Bumpus created a list with the names and marks of the Crown Ducal tube-liners, and Gerrard Shaw has a similar list of names in his dissertation. I am not aware of any new information being found since these publications which are now about 15 and 20 years old. Hope must now be fading of linking any more names to these tube-lined marks.

Published information of tube-liners and their marks

Despite there being no new factual information about Charlottes work colleagues I believe that information from observing which signature styles are found on which patterns and associated with which backstamp style may reveal some useful information. Each distinctive facsimile signature style has a relationship to the date when the mark was applied. Although many of the signature styles may not be definitively attributed to individual named decorators, their characteristic marks clearly occur in clusters with regard to backstamps and patterns and consequently a date range. This information can be used to estimate when particular tube-liners were working for Charlotte and what patterns they preferred or were instructed to work on. 

The cataloguing of the signature styles is fraught with difficulty. There is a strong temptation to make associations, and this must be balanced against the risk of creating links where none actually exists. The philosophy adopted here is to record all styles that have recognisably different characteristics, but to group and link them if they could reasonably be by the same individual. If a new interpretation of the observations makes more sense in the future then it should be quite easy to present the findings anew. 

I have identified between thirty and forty different signature styles but Bumpus and Shaw record barely a dozen names or tube-lined initials. It is hoped to demonstrate that several tube-liners used different signature styles during the course of their time working at Crown Ducal. But some styles are represented by a very small number of observations and it may never be possible to fit them into the picture.
In this first post on the subject I am going to present the signature styles of three tube-liners, Rose Dickenson, Hannah Williams and Elsie Fearns. These are recognisable signature styles which collectors will be familiar with. Analysis of variation in a tube-liners style with regard to time and pattern range can suggest some interesting detail about the production and employment history at Richardsons. These are some of the easy ones to get started with, others are more difficult or impossible to interpret.

In a previous post I introduced a concept of "periods" for defining the age of when a pot was made and I shall use these terms for describing when tube-liners were active. Providing there is sufficient confidence I may use actual years to provide more precision, but they can only ever be estimates because there is no documentation from the 1930s recording the Crown Ducal production history.

Firstly, I need to point out an error made by Bumpus, and that is the linking of the K mark to a tube-liner. The .K. mark is definitely not the identifier of a tube-liner. It is a code applied by the tube-liner so that the enameller will be informed to decorate the pot in a certain manner. These codes are recorded in the surviving Crown Ducal documents and pots marked with a K are also likely to have a signature of one of the known tube-lining artists together with their letter or number mark.

Rose Dickenson (possible spelling Dickinson) 


From the range of patterns and backstamps found with Rose's signature style it can be confidently proposed that Rose was effectively present during the entirety of Charlotte’s time at Richardson’s. Her signature has not been observed on a few designs but the long term tube-liners like Fanny, Dora, Rose and Hannah appear to have had favourites and concentrated their efforts on particular patterns. Then by the time of WW2 these experienced decorators tended, (though not exclusively), to work on the most complex patterns and on special orders, so their marks may not be found on some of the later, simpler designs.

Rose in her mid 20s - photo taken c. 1938-1940

Although the signature style of Rose does change with time, there is rarely any difficulty in identifying her work. The dot and curved stroke forming her initial letter D is very distinctive. I have not subdivided her entire catalogue of work, (yet!), but just concentrated on her early styles as this demonstrates on what she was working on during that first year or so with Charlotte Rhead.

Rose Dickenson TL-RD1

The style TL-RD1  indicates an item of Roses's earliest work. So far it has only been found on patterns Lotus Leaves, (2682) and Turin, (2691) from Period 1. Notice the L for Lottie Rhead, (like Charlotte's work at Burgess & Leigh), suggesting these were made during the first months of production before Charlotte had created her new "Crown Ducal" identity and perhaps guiding how her team should identify their work.

Rose Dickenson TL-RD2

The style TL-RD2  is also her early work from Period 1.  Found on patterns Lotus Leaves, (2682), Turin, (2691), Aztec, (2800), USA pattern 3172 and Padua, (3636).  Now with a C for Charlotte, the distinctive letter h, but still with the horizontal stroke to the letter d.

Rose Dickenson TL-RD3

The style TL-RD3 is at present a group of all her other signature styles. After TL-RD2 Rose developed a lovely flamboyant style with large CR and h, but later she became more efficient in her signature but it is always an instantly recognisable version of TL-RD3.

Production history graph showing distribution of Rose's early signature styles

The graph above shows the distribution of Rose's early signature styles. TL-RD1 and TL-RD2 are only found on items marked with Period 1 backstamps. This graph only displays observations until pattern 4040 in Period 2 but of course she continued tube-lining probably until Charlotte left in 1941/42.

The graph is instructive because it shows that her earliest work was on the simpler linework patterns of Lotus Leaves, Turin and Aztec, not Byzantine. I would hazard a guess that this might mean Rose was learning a new skill from Charlotte, although before the end of Period 1 she was decorating complex designs like Byzantine and Rhodian.

Hannah Williams


The signature of Hannah Williams also appears to have evolved, the similarities of these three styles are too striking to be ignored. The development of the capital R is the only real difference in the signature and the change in the initial letter from B to H is perhaps a change from maiden surname to forename. Bernard Bumpus ascribed the letter B signature to Violet Barber but he did qualify this with a question mark clearly indicating his uncertainty. The pattern and backstamp style distribution for these three signatures display a perfect sequential development. 

Hannah Williams TL-HW1

The TL-HW1 style is found on some Period 1 patterns particularly Byzantine, (2681), Rhodian, (3272), Primula and Granada, (3321) and on Period 2 pattern Hydrangea, (3797), as well as examples of  Period 1 designs produced during Period 2. From the proportion of Rhodian, Granada and Primula examples seen with the HW1 style compared with other established tube-liners of Period 1,  Hannah probably arrived when production of Rhodian was in full swing, late summer 1934 would be a reasonable estimate and probably stopped using the HW1 style in early 1935.
Hannah Williams TL-HW2
The TL-HW2 signature style is not common and apart from the earlier designs only appears on two patterns that are not found with TL-HW1 and those are Blue Peony, (4016) and Persian Rose, (4040). Therefore the HW2 style may only have been used for a few months or so in early/mid 1935. Some examples of the HW2 style have the horizontal top stroke for the letter d.
Hannah Williams TL-HW3

From pattern 4100 onward the typical signature style TL-HW3 with the letter H was used until Hannah left Richardson’s. The youngest design seen with her mark is 6016, but the number seen of the late, complex designs is similar to those produced by Rose and Dora so it is reasonable to assume she stayed at Richardson’s until Charlotte left.

Production history graph showing distribution of Hannah's early signature styles

The production history graph of Hannahs earliest work shows complex designs such as Byzantine, Rhodian and Granada. So I think it is safe to assume that Hannah was an experienced tube-liner before she started at Richardsons. I have not found any record of where she acquired her skill, maybe she had worked with Charlotte at Burgess & Leigh and was able to rejoin her, or possibly she was a colleague of Fanny Morrey at Moorcroft.  The number of Period 1 items tubed by Hannah is significantly less than some of her fellow workers, only 15%-18% of the number that are marked by Adams, Rose Dickenson or Dora Jones and therefore she probably joined well after Charlotte had set up operations at Richardsons. Late summer of 1934 would be a good estimate, just in time to prepare Byzantine, Rhodian and Granada pots for the Christmas shoppers!

Elsie Fearns?


These two styles are very similar and are probably by the hand of the same tube-liner whom Bumpus tentatively names Elsie Fearns. He has a question mark after Elsies name and Shaw does not have her in his list of tube-liners. I have no further personal information on this tube-liner and so for the present am happy to defer to Bernards best efforts to identify this tube-liner.

The only significant difference between them is the the case of the letter E. If the output of these two are merged they seamlessly become representative of one worker. The other characteristic common to both styles is the mark of the number 2 which often has the bottom stroke truncated so that it may look like the number 7.

Elsie Fearns? TL-EF1

The capital E version started sometime in period 1, probably around the time when Rhodian, (3272), and the large salad bowls and platters were being produced for the USA market. This would be spring of 1934. The youngest patterns seen with the capitalised letter E are few examples of 4491 and 4511 which would date to early spring 1936. From then on all examples use the lower case letter e.

Elsie Fearns? TL-EF2

The youngest pattern numbers with this signature style are a few examples 4953, 4954 and 4957, so it seems reasonable to conclude that this tube-liner stopped working with Charlotte soon after the introduction of Foxglove, Wisteria and Arabian Scroll, probably before the middle of 1937.

Production history graph showing distribution of Elsies signature styles

This production history graph shows the entire recorded output for Elsie. The number of Period 1 items seen with her mark are about 30% of what either Adams, Rose or Dora produced giving an estimated start time of spring 1934, and this would tie in nicely with the large quantity of Rhodian, Primula and Granada that she worked on. There are no significant numbers of Lotus Leaves, Turin and Aztec in the sample, so again, like for Hannah I have to speculate that she may have been an experienced tube-liner joining Charlottes team.


WARNING! Virtually all this post is speculation based on my observations, so although I hope the reader finds this interesting it could be riddled with untruths! Wouldn't it be great if the veracity could be confirmed. I am not too concerned if there are errors and I will make corrections if anyone has information to help with this. The biggest difficulty in creating a story here is who tube-lined all those unsigned Stitch, Patch and Posy items. Bumpus writes in his description of Stitch that they were worked by apprentice tube-liners and juniors.

But who were these people? If you were an apprentice or junior presumably you became skilled and a senior. But apart from a few tube-liners whose marks appear only in the mid 1930s there isn't really a large turnover or change in tube-liners. And what about all the tube-lined stitched edge Cotswold tableware? Did the same team decorate those or was there another group at the factory who are unknown?

I seriously wonder if Charlottes group of tube-liners was large enough to support this idea of a hierarchy where today we only know the senior members. Isn't it more likely that the team responded to what orders were coming in. If huge quantities of Stitch were ordered by retailers then surely everyone would have to help out to complete the orders.

It's a mystery - or perhaps someone can help with the answer.


More tube-liner profiles to follow........