Ever since finding the plaque below with a 20th century Adams' printed mark, a question mark has hovered over the many unmarked plaques that have this unusual scrolled border. In my November 24th post, the doubt seemed to recede a little, when I noted a striking difference between the appearance of the crackle/stress marks on the unmarked plaques compared with the almost crackle-free reproduction.
But today I found some more links between the unmarked plaques, and 20th century Adams' items with printed marks. Compare the transfers on the cup and plaque below. Click to enlarge and to move between the photos.
You have to bear in mind the curvature of the cup, but I have little doubt that these transfers came from the same transfer plate. Here's the printed mark on the cup...
And here's another unmarked plaque, shown next to the reverse side of the cup.
And take a look at the items below. They both show the 'Death of Punch' – a scene from Dr Syntax. The left plaque is unmarked. The silver lustre platter has an Adams' printed mark (below right). See this link for more photos.
So are all of the plaques with this kind of border 20th century Adams' reproductions? We know that the train also appears on items with 20th century printed marks (but in the case of the three items below, not Adams). See p143 of the 5th edition of Griselda Lewis' 'A Collector's History of English Pottery' for two mugs with this transfer and the printed mark 'RAILWAY W. ADAMS & CO ENGLAND'.
Perhaps Adams acquired transfer plates from a Sunderland pottery after the plaques were made. Even if not, Adams was in operation right the way through the 19th century, so I suppose there's still a chance that unmarked Adams' plaques might be Victorian.
As you can see, I'm still struggling to get my head around this one. Not least because many of these plaques look old. Here are two in the Sunderland Museum: a Crimean subject on the left, and a train in the centre of the right photo. I've put in a request for information. Could 20th century Staffordshire really have found its way into the museum collection?
As always, if you can add anything, please let me know.
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.