Four delftware hors d’oeuvres Dishes. Liverpool or Bristol, circa 1760

These small delftware dishes or trays comprised part of a tin-glazed hors d’oeuvres set. The centre of each dish is painted in blue with an arrangement of fruit and leaves. The narrow border consists of alternate diagonal lines and scrolls in blue. They may have been designed to fit inside a compartmented circular tray, as such forms do exist in English delftware.

Similar sets were produced in porcelain in China during the reign of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722) and throughout the 18th century. A number of English porcelain factories including Worcester and Bow produced hors d’oeuvres dishes decorated in Chinese-inspired famille rose and blue and white patterns during the 1750s and 1760s.

Condition: Excellent – no restoration, just expected wear and minor losses to the fragile tin glaze around the foot rim and edges. One dish has a very short fine hairline from the rim, and another dish has a couple of tiny clay tears on the rim from firing. The body is a pinkish buff colour and the glaze is a lumpy blue.

Dimensions: Length of each dish 12.8 cm

Ref. The V&A Museum, London, holds two Lambeth delftware compartmented circular trays from this period, attributed to William Griffith (CIRC.84-1963 and C.5-1963).

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).