A George Jones majolica Sardine Box and Cover, Staffordshire, circa 1870

This attractive George Jones majolica sardine box, cover and stand would have enjoyed pride of place on the Victorian tea table, where sardines were served as a genteel delicacy in the afternoon.

The cover is decorated with three fish forming a handle on a bed of seaweed. The edge of the cover is coloured yellow and the underside is pink.

The box is decorated with a band of green, pointed acanthus leaves on a pink enamel ground. The rim is decorated with an ochre twisted rope trim, and the interior is pink. The underside of the box is decorated with the distinctive mottled green and brown glazing.

The centre of the stand is mottled green and brown, as is the underside. As with the box, the outer edge is decorated with green acanthus leaves on a pink ground, and the rim is decorated with an ochre twisted rope trim.

The box and the stand each has rare, raised bilobed cartouche marks containing the GJ monogram in the centre, with STOKE ON TRENT below, and the handpainted pattern number 1805 above.

Provenance: Lydney Park, Gloucestershire; an English Private Collection.

Condition: No major damage or restoration. The cover appears to be in good order, although there may be a faint, short hairline to the underside. As is common with these sets, the cover sits a little loose within the recess.

The box has two small chips to the inside rim, one is 0.5 cm and the other is tiny (pinhead size). The yellow decoration around the top rim has some wear/abbrasions along the top and sides of the rim. There is also a tiny 0.3 cm chip to the outside top edge, close to one of the corners. There may be some light retouching to a small section of flaking to the yellow decoration, close to where there are some brownish smudges on the rim. These smudges may be from manufacture. Inside the base, there is some crazing and glaze wear, presumably from use. There may have been some light retouching to the pink enamel interior (around the sides and corners), possibly to stabilise and prevent flaking. The interior base has a small patch of raised mottling/discoloration, presumably from manufacture. There is a faint hairline to one of the corners. Expected wear to the foot rim from use.

The stand is in good order, with no obvious defects, just the usual crazing to the glaze.

Dimensions: Height (to top of fish handle) 10.5 cm; Length of stand 22 cm; Width of stand 20 cm

For more information on the majolica wares of George Jones, visit the Majolica International Society website.