Delftware Platter, Liverpool or Dublin, c.1750


The centre of this this delftware plate is neatly painted with a bowl filled with flowers. This design of a 'penjing' or 'landscape in a dish' is taken directly from Chinese export porcelain.

Arranged around the border are several of the 'Eight Daoist Emblems' or 'Eight Precious Things', including a pair of clappers with ribbons, rhinoceros-horn cups with ribbons, and a cake of ink with a ruyi sceptre and ribbons. The Chinese words for these objects make the phrase 'bi ding ruyi', or 'may everything be arranged as you desire'.

The underside edge is painted with four herbal sprigs.

The remains of an old collector's label is attached to the base.

Liverpool and Dublin tin-glazed earthenware often share many of the same characteristics; they were both made from Carrickfergus clay shipped from Antrim in the north of Ireland; the painting styles are often similar, and both show signs of 'sunken blue', where the painted blue pigment has sunk into the glaze. Another feature sometimes found on Liverpool and Irish delftware is tiny dots giving a speckled appearance to the blue painted decoration.

Condition: Excellent - no cracks or restoration, just the typical minor flaking to the rim found on most tin-glazed earthenware items. Some of the corners show that the glaze actually receded during firing in the kiln, revealing the smooth, fired clay beneath.

Dimensions: Length 33 cm

Delftware: The Tin-glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, Michael Archer (V&A/HMSO, 1997).

English Delftware, F.H. Garner and Michael Archer (Faber & Faber, 1972).


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