The Seaham jug in the Sunderland Museum (see previous post) provides a catalogue of transfers used by Walker & Co at that pottery in 1847. This is a great resource, because Seaham items are nearly always unmarked, and difficult to attribute.
I thought I'd check items in my own collection and see if I could find a match, and where better to start than the Mariner's Compass, which has always been a favourite transfer.
The transfer on the Seaham jug is easily distinguishable from the transfer found on plaques attributed to Newbottle and Moore's (a Newbottle plaque shown on the right below). Compare the two details, each from the item above. N.B. the transfer on the jug (left) is applied to a curved surface, so there are distortions of perspective, but even so, it's clear that the transfers come from different copper plates. The shading of the fur on the lion's cheek is running in a different direction. The tufts of grass in the foreground are different.
But I did manage to find two items that matched (see below). Again, you need to remember the transfers are on curved surfaces, and stretched in different directions. But the shading on the lion and the tufts of grass now match. We know that the first jug, with coloured enamels was made earlier, because the other two objects show scratches on the copper plate that don't appear on the first.
Look at the lower right quadrant of the shield (third row below). The centre jug and the bowl have a dark line through the diagonal white band that doesn't appear on the first. Also look at the lower left points of the star in the centre of the compass (bottom row). The centre jug and the bowl have a scratch coming off the point at SSW, but again the first doesn't.
The scratches show that the Seaham jug in the Sunderland Museum and my bowl have transfers that are indisputably from the same copper plate. But are there any imperfections that tie together the two jugs? I believe there are. Firstly, the engraver looks to have slipped, and there's a small diagonal fleck that appears to the left of SSW. Secondly, the shading of the waistcoat of the male figure spills over slightly onto his left lapel.
So I have at least two items of Seaham Pottery. The bowl, which has very similar decoration to the Sunderland Museum jug, was likely also made by Walker & Co, c1847. The jug with coloured enamels is earlier but whether made by Walker & Co, John Allason, or an earlier partnership at Seaham, it's hard to say.
By looking at the other transfers on my jug and bowl we can further expand the Seaham 'catalogue'. If you have a similar item you'd like me to take a look at, please get in touch.
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.