The plaque below, despite having been broken clean in half at some point, is pretty special. It has a cobalt blue border, which is a rarity – I only have one other. The transfer, although similar to the C.C. & Co version, is also extremely rare. Note the crossed leaf stalks at the bottom, where usually there are flowers. It is very finely potted. But perhaps the most exciting feature of all is the 'WALLACE & Co' impress on the reverse.
Bell states that James Wallace & Co operated at Forth Banks in Newcastle between c1838 and c1858. He gets this data from business directory entries, but I can't help feeling the plaque looks slightly earlier. So I need to find out more about this pottery.
The 'prepare' plaque has helped me solve a mystery. I've spent hours squinting at the unclear impress (top right) on the back of the Knox plaque below, convinced it read something like 'OVEDVEN'. But I had it upside down. When flipped the right way (bottom left), you can see it is a perfect match for the WALLACE & Co mark (bottom right), but missing the 'WA'. So now we have two marked plaques from this pottery. Do they help us to identify any more?
I've been kicking myself for not making the connection before, but John Knox belongs to a series of preachers, with joined-up script (like handwriting) on either side of each preacher's head. So these rectangular plaques, which look contemporary with the round one, may come from Wallace & Co also. I found the Wesley loving cup on the following blog: http://www.thehistoryfiles.com/wesleyana/401/ It also looks to belong to the same series.
Thanks to Geoff Ridgway, the owner of the loving cup, who has just e-mailed me the images below. They couldn't have made me happier! On the reverse of the cup is Adam Clarke.
The plaques above are all exceptionally rare. So it might be another 50 years or so before I find images of all the circular and rectangular preacher plaques. If you can help speed the process, please get in touch.
Huge thanks to Shauna Gregg of Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums for providing photos of a bowl with the Carr impress (see below). Shauna writes 'I've attached images but the mark has not been photographed. The records say it has an impressed mark on the base showing an anchor, stag's head and JOHN CARR & SONS.' I've added Bell's image of the mark to refresh your memory (and mine). Click on the images to enlarge.
The final transfer detail shows the much-copied West View of the Cast Iron Bridge over the River Wear. So does it match up with any of the items in my August 23rd posting? If so, it might seem reasonable to attribute that object to Carr.
Looking at the cloud formations, I found only one similar match. A plaque with transfer-printed leaf borders (see my August 21st post).
So far, so good. A closer inspection, however, revealed differences (see below). The left image is the bowl, and the right image the plaque. The plaque has a bricked wall underneath the buildings on the right. The foliage in the foreground is shaded differently.
At this point I felt ready to give up. But look at the images below. The plaque (right detail) has a man in a rowing boat in front of the left ship. Now look at the bowl (left detail). The rowing boat is missing, but its ghost image remains underneath the shading of the water.
So I think we can say conclusively that they come from the same transfer plate, and that the plaque predates the bowl. The transfer plate became worn over time and Carr had it re-engraved, losing the rowing boat in the process. Sadly, one thing we can't say conclusively is whether the plaque was made by Carr. He could have bought the worn transfer plate from another pottery and had it re-engraved. We know that he bought transfer plates from the Garrison Pottery after its closure in 1865.
Belated thanks to David Jenkins for sending me the image of the fabulous plate below with a C.C. & Co impressed mark.
Apparently there's been a ferry service between North and South Shields since the fourteenth century. In 1829, the Shields Ferry Act established the North & South Shields Ferry Company, to convey passengers, carriages, horses, cattle and goods. Regular services began in July 1830 between market Street/New Quay in South Shields to Ferry Street/Market Place in North Shields, both close to the current pier locations. (Continue reading here.) Cornfoot, Colville & Co set up in partnership at the North Shields Pottery in 1829. It seems likely the plate dates from c1830.
Thanks to Keith Bell who writes:
Just noticed your latest blog and I wondered if you had noticed the cone of the Lowlights Pottery on the lower right of the transfer on the jug ? I have attached the only photograph I can find, which shows the area around the pottery flooded after heavy rain in October 1900. The pottery was situated behind the Low Lights Tavern, which is not visible in the photograph.
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.