Ian Sharp's description of a plaque on his website got me thinking. The plaque has a prepare to meet thy god transfer with an unusual scroll motif. Ian writes that the 'enamel colours are usually associated with either John Carr, North Shields, or C T Maling, Newcastle, both c1845.' See Ian's plaque below.
I've been kicking myself for not noticing it sooner, but the plaque form is one I've already attributed to Maling. It is 180 mm in diameter and finely potted. Compare a similar plaque from my own collection with the Maling-attributed Wesley below.
So are there any other plaques I've missed that we might attribute to this group? One thing to note about many of these plaques is that the pink lustre tends to be washed out (see two below). But on Ian's plaque the lustre is particularly strong. It could simply be that for a limited period, Maling experienced problems with their lustre process. Both the plaques below are also 180 mm diameter.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows plaque (below left), has a lovely strong lustre border like Ian's plaque, though it measures 175 mm. But note the same use of brick red and green enamels. It is actually the same diameter as the early plaque on the right with the Maling impress. However, the Odd Fellows plaque is more heavily potted.
But for me, the most exciting connection is between the plaques below. In the flesh, the yellows are more obviously from the same palette. Though they are different sizes (left plaque, 178 mm diameter; right plaque, 173 mm diameter), the similarity of the decoration is startling. I can't believe that these plaques have hung on my wall for 5 years, and I've not noticed it before.
The Maling page still needs a lot of work. The problem is that Maling don't appear to have marked their circular plaques after about 1830. The Thou God plaque above is very rare. I've only ever seen one other, which came up on eBay a few years ago. It had an orange/red border. As always, I would love a photo if the owner happens to read this, as it might help to link other plaques to Maling.
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.