The plaque below, despite having been broken clean in half at some point, is pretty special. It has a cobalt blue border, which is a rarity – I only have one other. The transfer, although similar to the C.C. & Co version, is also extremely rare. Note the crossed leaf stalks at the bottom, where usually there are flowers. It is very finely potted. But perhaps the most exciting feature of all is the 'WALLACE & Co' impress on the reverse.
Bell states that James Wallace & Co operated at Forth Banks in Newcastle between c1838 and c1858. He gets this data from business directory entries, but I can't help feeling the plaque looks slightly earlier. So I need to find out more about this pottery.
The 'prepare' plaque has helped me solve a mystery. I've spent hours squinting at the unclear impress (top right) on the back of the Knox plaque below, convinced it read something like 'OVEDVEN'. But I had it upside down. When flipped the right way (bottom left), you can see it is a perfect match for the WALLACE & Co mark (bottom right), but missing the 'WA'. So now we have two marked plaques from this pottery. Do they help us to identify any more?
I've been kicking myself for not making the connection before, but John Knox belongs to a series of preachers, with joined-up script (like handwriting) on either side of each preacher's head. So these rectangular plaques, which look contemporary with the round one, may come from Wallace & Co also. I found the Wesley loving cup on the following blog: http://www.thehistoryfiles.com/wesleyana/401/ It also looks to belong to the same series.
Thanks to Geoff Ridgway, the owner of the loving cup, who has just e-mailed me the images below. They couldn't have made me happier! On the reverse of the cup is Adam Clarke.
The plaques above are all exceptionally rare. So it might be another 50 years or so before I find images of all the circular and rectangular preacher plaques. If you can help speed the process, 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.