For years I've been tormented by the plaque below, which I didn't bid hard enough for on eBay. Shortly afterwards, the new owner got in touch to say it had a FELL & Co impress over anchor, for Thomas Fell, St Peter's Pottery, Newcastle. Until today, I hadn't seen a photo of the mark.
I'd noticed an indistinct circular mark on a plaque in my own collection. But it was so unclear, I dismissed it as an impression left by the stilt the plaque rested on inside the kiln.
The plaque falls into a group that share some elements of lustre decoration found on 1850s' plaques marked Dixon Co, so that's where I placed it on this website. However, a plaque amongst a job lot of junk at my local auction house got me thinking (see below).
Again, the mark is fairly indistinct, but this time there's no doubt that it's a maker's mark. As with my plaque above, black speckles of kiln dust are trapped in the impress. Here's what I hoped the mark might be.
This prompted me to recontact the owner of the first plaque in this post. Huge thanks to him for providing a photo. And here it is, the FELL & CO mark, as clear as day.
So if the three plaques above are Fell & Co, how many other plaques can reliably be attributed to Fell? The first two plaques below have the same transfers as those above. The third pairs with the first, so is attributed to Fell also. N.B. this is a different Seek Ye transfer to those that appear on Maling-attributed plaques.
The decorative elements of the plaques below so strongly match the marked plaques above, that they also must be attributed to Fell. The mould of the second plaque is also similar. Some of the decorative lustre elements on these plaques later appear on Dixon plaques of the 1850s (the colliding meteorite motif for instance), but there is a far greater similarity to the Fell plaques above. What's more, these plaques are likely c1830s, so precede the Dixon plaques by two decades.
So there's more work to be done rearranging attributions on this site. And, once again, this shows how dangerous it can be making attributions based on similarities of decoration alone. Just for the satisfaction of it, here are the three marks again below.
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.