The plaque below was apparently produced around 1855 at the time of the Crimean War.
The border is unusual. It has particularly crisp scolled edges, but without a hint of the shell motif which appears on nearly all larger-sized rectangular plaques (see right image below – click to enlarge).
This Crimean plaque looks to be 19th century, as does the 'Express' plaque with a landscape and a train (see landscapes), which also has this scrolled edging. (The Express plaques on this site have pink outer edges, but versions with copper edges also exist. For a pink-edged version of the Crimean plaque, see the other maritime page.) I don't know of any plaques with this edge that have impressed marks, so it's difficult to attribute them to a particular pottery.
Confusingly, however, this edging has also been used on 20th century reproductions (see the hunting plaque below), albeit with less crisp scrolling. The mark on the reverse is from Adams' Staffordshire pottery. It was used at their Greenfield site 1914–1955, and at their Greengates site 1914–1970. Precisely when this plaque was made is, therefore, anyone's guess.
The other plaque I've seen with this form of edging is the 'Success to the farmer' verse below. The plaque on the left has an all-over crackle, often associated with reproductions, but according to the owner, the lustre looks right. The plaque on the right has pink edges.
If anyone knows of other plaques with this scrolled edging, or has one with an impressed mark, please get in touch. Also, I'd love to know if anyone can confirm whether the 'Success to the farmer' (on the left) is original or a reproduction.
For an update, please see my January 2012 post on the subject.
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.