“British Palaces” series
Transferware from a British Perspective
Number Thirty-Three of an Ongoing Series by Dick Henrywood
In this series of articles I normally try to list patterns which are parts of a particular series in the hope that documenting them will bring more examples out of the woodwork. This time, just for a change, I thought it might be useful to have a look at two series of views which often give rise to confusion. They are titled “British Palaces” and “Royal Sketches” and not only do they both show views of Royal buildings in Britain, but they can look superficially similar at first glance.
“British Palaces” series
The “British Palaces” series appears on dinner wares printed in blue, black, brown, purple, and shades of pink or red. There are at least a dozen different views, including six of Windsor Castle, two of the Brighton Pavilion, and others identified as Eton, Virginia Water, and the Royal Cottage in Windsor Great Park. Each view is contained within a band of stringing with stylised flowerheads in arches, then a broad border of flowers on an ermine-like ground. The printed mark consists of the series title within a cartouche of union flowers (roses, thistles and shamrocks), surmounted by a crown. The maker is not known, although there are reasons to suspect that the wares may have been made by one of the Elkin and/or Knight partnerships at the Foley Pottery in Staffordshire.
“Royal Sketches” series
The “Royal Sketches” series is remarkably similar, consisting of at least nineteen different views, again with two of the Brighton Pavilion and six of Windsor Castle, and others of Eton, Virginia Water, the Royal Cottage, and at least six which remain unidentified. Again the series appears on dinner wares in a similar range of colours but with green instead of black. In this case each view on the flatwares is surrounded by a frame which contains the royal motto “Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense” and then an open floral border featuring groups of union flowers and broad outer stringing. The printed mark consists of the series title within a circular frame surrounded by union flowers and leaves, and again surmounted by a crown. No example with a maker’s mark has yet emerged but there are good reasons for the series to be attributed to Hicks, Meigh & Johnson of Shelton in Staffordshire.
Just reading these descriptions makes it obvious that there are lots of possibilities for confusion. The problem could of course, be compounded by looking at the two royal views in Ralph Stevenson’s “Lace Border” series, but that could be another story!
Illustrated here are platters from each of the two series (different sizes but the same view of Windsor Castle) together with the two different printed marks. I am attempting to bring some sense to cataloguing the two series so would love to hear from anyone who might have images, particularly of less common pieces such as platters tureens, drainers, jugs, etc. etc. Any offers? Replies welcome as usual, but please note the smart new email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Click on images for a larger view.)
|“British Palaces” platter in blue, 21.5in.||“British Palaces” series title mark in black.||
“Royal Sketches” platter in purple, 17in.
“Royal Sketches” series title mark in brown.