I got pretty excited when the plates below, with impressed 'J CARR & Co' marks came up at Anderson and Garland last year. I felt sure I'd seen the transfers on plaques.
I've set the plates and plaques side-by-side below, along with details of the transfers. It would have been great to get a cast-iron attribution for the plaques as John Carr. I'll let you play spot the difference, but I'm certain they come from different transfer plates. If you are in any doubt, look at the lozenge decoration on the building on the left in the final detail (click to enlarge and move between the images).
The differences between the second plate and plaque with similar transfer are even more pronounced. Note the shadows on the water to the right of the figures.
I felt a bit crestfallen, but then remembered a pair of plates in a pile in my bedroom that I bought some time ago (thanks to Philip Rutherford for drawing my attention to them on eBay). The plates have similar transfers and the LONDON impressed mark over an anchor (see below).
Given the angle of the plaque photos and the washes of enamels over the plaque's transfer, it is difficult to be 100% certain, but these look like a good match to me. (Remember the lozenges on the left house in the third detail.)
Again with the second plate it is impossible to be certain (the transfer on the plaque has degraded), but an altogether better match.
So who made the plaques and the London-marked plates? Clarice Blakey states in a Northern Ceramic Society newsletter (83) that...
The five reported users of the LONDON mark are:
Middlesbrough Pottery, 1834–52
Isaac and Thomas Bell, Albion Pottery, 1860–63
Carr & Sons, Low Lights Pottery N. Shields, 1844–c 1900
Malkin, Walker and Hulse, British Anchor Pottery, Longton, 1858–64
Fell & Co, St Peters Pottery, Newcastle on Tyne, 1817–1890
My hunch is that both the plaques and the London-marked plates were made by John Carr, but the attribution is some way off being cast-iron. If you know better, please get in touch.
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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.