Most of the plaques on this site come from the North East of England. However, at least one pottery in Staffordshire was prolific in making circular and rectangular black and white transfer-printed plaques. I have a small collection of these, some of which I've just got around to photographing.
The John Wesley and Adam Clarke transfers most commonly appear on 8" x 6.5" plaques, like the Clarke on the right above. In fact, I haven't recorded Clarke on any other size. Wesley, however, appears on a whole range of sizes (see above centre), and also extremely rarely on circular plaques (above left). The circular Wesley plaque has the under-glaze inscription on reverse 'H.B. 1832'. 1832 is the year of Clarke's death, and some of these plaques may have been sold in Wesley-Clarke pairs to commemorate that.
Probably the most common transfers on this plaque form are Faith, Hope and Charity (see above). The plaques come in two different sizes: small, 5.5" x 4.5", on the top row; and large, 8" x 6.5", on the bottom row. The two sizes have different transfers. The smaller size is rarer. The larger plaques are sometimes found with black and yellow borders, or white borders for factory seconds (see the Staffordshire plaques page).
The music plaque above (8" x 6.5") is superb, and relatively rare. It may be one of a series of transfers symbolising the arts, but if so, I've never seen any of the others: painting? theatre? dance? The Willett Collection in Brighton has, I recall, a similar plaque with a classical subject, but the search function on their site is down at present, so I can't provide the link.
The first four plaques above show landscapes with deer, cows and a windmill (click to enlarge). The bottom centre plaque, which appears to be identical in form to the circular Wesley above, has a transfer of a girl feeding chickens, and the bottom right shows a game of blind man's bluff. The rectangular plaques are 5.5" x 4.5", and the circular plaques are 5.5" and 6" diameter respectively.
The above small plaques titled 'THE GRACES' and 'THE SENTINEL' have a very different form and feel to the other plaques above. Page 199 (757) of Riley (Gifts for Good Children) shows a similar alphabet plate, titled 'THE SENTINEL' with the impressed mark T.& B. GODWIN. NEW WHARF. (New Basin Potteries, Burslem, Staffordshire 1809-1834). Page 37 of Gibson (19th Century Lustreware, 2000) shows another similar plaque with two girls.
As an antidote to the rather twee plaques above, here are some magnificent plaques of the boxers Spring and Langan. Read more about them on the Portraits page. The larger size of the single plaques sometimes appears with black and yellow borders. The right plaque is huge, measuring 16.5" x 13", and appears with black and yellow, and red/puce borders.
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Stephen Smith lives in London, and is always happy to hear from other collectors. If you have an interesting collection of plaques, and are based in the UK, he will photograph them for you. Free advice given regarding selling and dispersal of a collection, or to those wishing to start one. Just get in touch...
This website is indebted to collectors, dealers and enthusiasts who have shared their knowledge or photos. In particular: Ian Holmes, Stephen Duckworth, Dick Henrywood, Norman Lowe, Keith Lovell, Donald H Ryan, Harold Crowder, Jack and Joyce Cockerill, Myrna Schkolne, Elinor Penna, Ian Sharp, Shauna Gregg at the Sunderland Museum, Keith Bell, Martyn Edgell, and Liz Denton.