A Dessert Dish, white salt-glazed stoneware, Staffordshire, circa 1760

Made of white salt-glazed stoneware, this Staffordshire dessert dish is a sweet thing, partly down to its size, as it is slightly smaller than usual for wares of this type. The press-moulded design makes use of a number of decorative elements, including basketweave (ozier), rococo scrolls and cartouches, and diaper (trellis-work) patterns.

Condition: Very good – the fragile perforated fretwork can be susceptible to hairlines, but this piece has none. Indeed, this dish is a rare survivor, with no damage or restoration at all. Each of the holes was pierced by the potter using a square-tipped tool whilst the clay was leather-hard, and naturally, the clay did not always want to come away neatly. Similarly, during this drying-out stage, prior to glazing and the final firing, small clay tears began to appear around the rim. During manufacture, the glaze softened the moulded decoration to a small section of the rim. There is also a tiny patch on the rim where the glaze managed to avoid making contact with the dish. One characteristic of salt-glazed wares is that the surface has the dimpled appearance of ‘orange-peel’, and this can be seen on the reverse.

Dimensions: Diameter 19.5 cm

Early Staffordshire Pottery, Bernard Rackham (Faber & Faber, 1951).