Large plaques with rounded corners like the one below are usually attributed to John Carr's North Shields pottery near Newcastle. The transfers used on these plaques often appear on smaller-sized rectangular plaques like the second below. See, for instance, the Marco Polo on the Common ships page, or the plaques with the all-seeing eye on the Prepare to meet thy god page.
On the basis of the use of the same transfers, it seemed reasonable to suggest that the smaller plaques were also made in or near Newcastle. However, I recently found the photo below in Battie and Turner's 'The Price Guide to 19th and 20th Century British Pottery' (reprinted 1990 by the Antique Collectors' Club).
It is almost easier not to believe the description above. Could someone have misread the impressed mark? Even so, a plaque like this with any mark would be incredibly rare; I've never heard of another. Might the description have been lifted from an auction catalogue, which are often littered with errors? If the description were correct, then that would place production of these round-cornered plaques in Sunderland rather than (or perhaps as well as) Newcastle. It seems like a slim hope, but if the owner of the plaque above happens to read this post, please get in touch.
For interest, here are two other plaques listed in the same book, with their 1990 prices. You might count yourself lucky to acquire them for five times the price in 2010!
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.