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Staffordshire Toys and Miniatures

by David Arman
Excerpted from the TCC Bulletin

Some of the rarest forms found on dark blue Staffordshire, are those small objects made for the delight of children. Normally found in the form of tea services, full dinner services are known to have been made. The method we use to differentiate those items made for export to America and those made for domestic use is two fold. First, it is readily accepted that the very dark blue was made for export and secondly, there were a group of potters that seemed to have specialized in the American trade, so we assume those pieces made by them were meant for export.  It is using these two criterion that we collected the following examples:

The group above are by the Clews Pottery. The platter and open vegetable were discussed in the last issue of the Bulletin.  The little tureen is impressed CLEWS.

Below is a typical Clews Basket of Flowers transfer. It has an unusual impressed mark illustrated above, which is the usual Clew's crown within a circle, with CLEWS'S WARRANTED around the center.  The normal Clews mark is CLEWS not CLEWS'S. The dark blue cup and saucer has an underglaze transfer DAVENPORT mark, identical with that illustrated on page 13 of the Winter, 1999 TCC Bulletin.

Below we have illustrated a typical dark blue toy Tea Service in the VILLAGE CHURCH pattern, which is known to have been made by the Clews Pottery. The height of the teapot is 3 1/4"h.

Directly below is another toy Tea Service in a dark blue "sheet" pattern. According to Coysh and Henrywood, writing in The Dictionary of blue and White Pottery, 1780 - 1880, these all-over patterns allowed it to be used on various forms, without the need for several different engraved copper plates.  They also state that these "sheet 'patterns were used extensively on toy dinner services. In the foreground is a 7/8"h x 2 1/4"w miniature tureen base.

We use the term "toy" to describe those Staffordshire items where the Teapots are in the 3"h range, plates in the 2 1/4"d to 4"d and the platters from 3"w to 6"w.  Miniatures, which are very uncommon, are significantly smaller.  None of these sheet pattern pieces have a maker's mark.

The next light blue transfer Tea Service is by Ridgway in the COLUMBLAN STAR pattern, which was made for the 1840 Presidential Campaign of William Henry Harrison. Besides the toy Tea Service, this transfer is found on a full sized dinner service.

Below, we have illustrated a partial dinner service with a medium blue transfer that has been given the title by Coysh-Henrywood of the Minton Miniature series. While this was not made for export to America, it serves to illustrate the various forms found in the Toy Dinner Services.  The length of the tiny ladle is only 3".

On the right, we have Pictured a tiny 2 1/4"h pearlware Toy Pitcher with a black transfer of a sitting puppy.  There are several variants of this, with diffemet transfers of the many pets a child of this period might own.

Next, we have illustrated two very rare light blue transfer services. The Tea Service below was manufactured by Charles Meigh and is from his AmEpicANCITIES AND SCENERY SERIES. While the majority of the pieces are decorated only using this distinctive border, the saucers contain a transfer Of UTICA, NEW YORK, taken from a William Bartlett engraving. These are um-marked.  

Finally, we have examples from an extensive Toy Dinner Service by Morely from his LAKE series, which consists of Canadian Views, also taken from William Bartlett engravings. The scene portrayed here is THE INDIAN ENCAMPMENT ON THE ST LAWRENCE. These particular pieces were all unmarked. Most of these Toys/miniatures are unlisted in the reference books available today and this is the first time many have ever been recorded or published. We invite the membership to share any little jewels in their collections for publication in the Bulletin.

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