Last week I purchased a marked 'SCOTT" plate with 'LA BRETAGNE - 140 GUNS'. Underneath the Scott imprint is the impressed letter 'H". It has provided a great opportunity to compare my two Bretagne plaques with a marked ware.
The above plaque, attributed to Scott, is the best quality of the three items. Presumably made circa 1855, the transfer is full of fine detail. The pottery body of the plaque is the creamiest of the three. The enamelling, particularly on the sails, is less shrill - more of an earthy yellow.
The second plaque, with an orange border, was made later than the first (perhaps circa 1870). The transfer, although strong, is less fine. This is particularly evident around the rigging. The pottery body is completely different - a dazzling bleached white. The palette of the enamels is also different. The yellow is a more high-octane, acid lemon colour.
So what of the marked plate? Interestingly, it shares attributes of both plaques. The pottery body is creamier than the later plaque. However, the colour palette of the enamelling is very close to the orange plaque (closer than the photos suggest – you'll have to take my word for it). The transfer looks to have deteriorated, suggesting a later date. The impressed mark 'Scott' was used from 1841–1897 (Baker), so that doesn't much help us on date.
Few people would dispute the attribution of the older plaque to Scott of Southwick. The colouring of the later plaque is so similar to the plate, it seems probable that it is Scott too.
Baker, however, states that 'according to the firm's records, Scott's supplied earthenware to Moore's Wear Pottery and to the Bridge End Pottery, presumably plain for decoration. Scott's also purchased ware from both Maling and Fell of Newcastle.' Moore's pottery, a short walk from Scott's, used similar transfers, and it's possible they decorated each other's plaques, or sent them to the same place for decoration.
Until an orange plaque marked Scott turns up (which seems unlikely) it's impossible to attribute this plaque form with complete certainty.
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.