In my February 21st blog post I took a detailed look at the 'Prepare' transfers associated with the Sunderland potteries, and threatened one day to do the same for the 'Thou Gods'. Before reading this blog post, please take another look at the Prepare to meet thy god page. I have identified four distinct 'Prepare' transfer plates, and labelled them 'plate 1' to 'plate 4'. In theory, there should be a corresponding 'Thou God' for each of the four 'Prepare' plates.
It is easy to find the 'Thou God' pair for the plate 1 'Prepare', because instead of the verse at the top reading 'In thee O Lord...', it begins 'In the O Lord...' (see detail below).
The obvious way to distinguish the transfers that correspond with the remaining plates (2–4), was to look at three plaques that had 'Prepare' counterparts in each of the groups. So, you'd expect the Scott-attributed plaque on the left below, to have a transfer that paired with 'Prepare' plate 2. You'd expect the centre Newbottle-attributed plaque to have a transfer that paired with plate 3. And you'd expect the plaque on the right below, which has a Moore & Co impressed mark, to have a transfer that paired with plate 4. What could be simpler?
But as always, it's trickier than expected. The Moore & Co transfer (plate 4) is easy enough to distinguish because the small circles to the left of the flowers (see third detail) are joined to the sprig with stalks. Also, as before, the leaf under the 't' of 'thee' (see first details) is shaded on the left side on the Moore & Co plaque. So we have our plate 4.
However, try as I might – I've given myself eyestrain comparing enlarged images on my computer screen – I can find no differences between the two circular plaques. Note the correspondence of the lines shading the letter 'u' in the last detail. I am as certain as I can be that they come from the same transfer plate. Given that the plate was in use at Newbottle 'High' Pottery before it came to Scott, it must correspond to plate 3. So where is plate 2's counterpart?
I decided to compare all the Scott 'Thou Gods' for which I have high quality images. If plate 2 exists, you'd expect it to have the following attributes:
All of the plaques above look to have identical transfers that come from plate 3. So either a corresponding 'Thou God' transfer to plate 2 doesn't exist, or I've not found it yet.
There are 75 photographs of 'Prepare' plaques on the Prepare to meet thy god page. Whereas there are only 41 photographs of 'Thou God' plaques on the Thou god seest me page. Though by no means a scientific measure, it seems clear that considerably fewer 'Thou Gods' were ever made. If the verse was less popular that might explain why fewer transfer plates were made.
As ever, please take a close look at your 'Thou Gods'. Perhaps you have one from the missing plate 2.
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.