Two and a half years ago I wrote about plaques with 'scalloped' corners. I'm not sure that that's the perfect description for them - Ian Sharp calls them 'butterfly' corners. Moore & Co (Sunderland) made larger-sized versions of these plaques in the 1840s (see below).
All other variations of this plaque form appear to come from Tyneside. Both Robert Maling (below left and right) and CT Maling (below centre) made smaller plaques of this form in the 1840-50s. Many Tyneside plaques of similar size are unmarked and, naively, I wanted to attribute them all to Maling. Many have green decoration, a feature common on early Maling plaques (but a feature associated with Tyneside pottery in general).
My prejudices were reinforced when I saw the entry below in an old Railtons' auction catalogue. Many of the unmarked plaques have similar religious verses, with a wash of pink lustre over the central transfer, so my attribution seemed to gather strength.
The first challenge came discovering the plaques below, both marked B.&Co, so surely not Maling. Ian Sharp identified them as Burn & Co, from the Stepney Bank Pottery, 1852-1860. So green decoration on plaques, certainly wasn't unique to Maling.
In my last blog post, I identified a further group of these plaques as Fell & Co. They were often washed with lustre over the central transfer, so that's another feature we can't solely attribute to Maling (those with eagle eyes will have noted that the first Moore & Co plaque above also shares this feature).
This week I remembered the bridge plaque below, from the Anderson and Garland website. The transfer appears on marked wares by Galloway & Atkinson at the Albion Pottery, c1864. I'm unsure whether the plaque below is marked, but the auction house identifies it as Albion Pottery.
So nearly all the larger Tyneside potteries produced plaques with scalloped corners. This brings me to my final examples below. The obvious attribution for these plaques is from one of the North Shields partnerships (Low Lights Pottery) of John Carr. They share the same transfers as later Carr-attributed items. But I previously resisted this attribution on the grounds that the plaques below look nothing like their later counterparts, and in fact have features more commonly associated with Maling. But we now know that nearly every pottery on Tyneside was using this rectangular plaque form. And at least two other potteries, Burn and Fell, used green decoration. I'm now more confident about attributing the plaques below to Carr.
Take a look at the items below. The ferry plate on the left has the impressed mark C.C.&Co. The ferry started in 1829, so the initials could stand for Cornfoot, Colville & Co (1828-32), or for the later North Shields partnership, Cornfoot, Carr & Co (1832-38). Note the similarity of decoration to the third plaque above. The later plaque, on the right below, again with similar decoration, is attributed to John Carr & Sons (c1870). For more information on dates see the North Shields partnerships page. Although we've already shown that decorative similarities must be treated with some caution, it is great to have this link.
Of course, the strongest basis for this attribution is the use of the same series of transfer plates. The copper plates did sometimes move between potteries, but usually after a pottery closed down and its effects were auctioned off. Whereas the Carr partnerships in North Shields ran from 1832 almost to the end of the century, so there's no obvious reason for them to let the transfer plates go.
So I've got more work to do reorganising these pages. My best guess is that the two scalloped cornered plaques above belong to the Carr and Patton, 1838-46, period at North Shields. As new items emerge, the picture becomes clearer. Who knows what will turn up in the next three years.
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.