10/28/2013 0 Comments
The Thomas Fell Wesley
Two years ago, I wrote about a transfer of John Wesley, and another of George Kinloch, that appear on round plaques and Staffordshire commemorative wares (see here). On that basis, I attributed the plaques to Staffordshire, and filed them on the Staffordshire page. This year I started to attribute verse plaques with similar decoration to Thomas Fell. A plaque came up recently (top left below), which I think confirms that these Wesley plaques were made by Thomas Fell in Newcastle, and not in Staffordshire.
The verse transfers below appear on later pink-lustre plaques with the impressed crown mark used by Fell (click here to read more). The top left plaque's black and white decoration is very similar to that on the Wesley beside it. Similarly the plum-bordered plaques below them have strikingly similar decoration. So that's now two strong decorative links between the Wesley plaques and the Fell verses. Interestingly, the spacing of the hanging holes matches according to the decoration.
My guess is that Fell copied the portrait transfers from Staffordshire wares. You can see from the shape of the shading in the background that the Kinloch transfers (bottom row below) come from different transfer plates. (Incidentally, the two plaques below are larger than those shown above, and decorated with a different red.)
The Kinloch plaque has an impressed mark like a segmented circle (see centre below), as do the two plaques below. So that's another small group of attributions we can shift to Thomas Fell.
In theory, it's possible that the Wesley transfer might appear on pink-lustre plaques like those below. However, this transfer hasn't to date been found on any item with pink lustre. My guess is that the transfer plate was retired, either through damage or wear, before Fell started producing the pink lustre plaques. But if you have a pink Wesley of the kind above, please get in touch and prove me wrong!
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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.