research and learning

"Classical Antiquities" series (Joseph Clemenston)

Henrywood's Highlights
Transferware from a British Perspective

Number Nine of an Ongoing Series by Dick Henrywood

Please note that the information below has been extensively updated and published in Volume Four of Dick Henrywood’s The Transferware Recorder (2018).

As most of you will know the object of this series of articles is to record and hopefully expand our knowledge of transferware patterns, so if you can contribute in any way, please let us know for the benefit of the wider transferware community.

For this outing I am taking a break from topographical views to look at a very different series of classical figure patterns which is found both in Britain and America. 

“Classical Antiquities” series

A series of individually titled classical figure group scenes by Joseph Clementson of Hanley, registered on 13 March 1849. The border features floral scrolls, vases, and an inner band of running grapevines. The printed mark is in the form of a circular belt bearing the individual title, with the series title, maker’s name “J. Clementson”, and an eagle on a shield all within the centre, and the registration diamond beneath. The various scenes are found predominantly on dinner wares although teawares are recorded and a tall jug and soap box have been noted so other toilet wares might exist. Examples are known in blue, brown, green, grey or black, and red or pink.

The source for most of the scenes can be revealed as illustrations by John Flaxman for Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, possibly the 1805 editions of The Iliad of Homer Engraved from the Compositions of Iohn Flaxman RA, Sculptor, London and The Odyssey of Homer Engraved from the Compositions of Iohn Flaxman RA, Sculptor, London.

Scenes recorded include:

“Diomed Casting His Spear Against Mars” *
Octagonal platter (size not known)
Illustrations: Williams & Weber 1/65 (platter)

"Homer Invoking the Muse" *
Plate (size not known)
Teabowl and saucer
Covered soap box
Illustrations: Williams & Weber 2/60 (plate)

“Juno’s Command”
Tea plate (size not known)
Illustrations: Williams & Weber 2/60 (pale green dished [?] plate)

Octagonal platter 13.5in

“Nestor’s Sacrifice” *
Item not known

“Penelope Carrying the Bow to the Suitors”
Octagonal platter 10.25in
Octagonal deep dish (size not known)
Illustrations: FOB48 (deep dish)

"Phemius Singing to the Suitors"
Dinner plate 10.0 to 10.5in
Illustrations: Coysh & Henrywood 1/86 and 1/281 (mark and plate); Snyder 44 (plate and mark); Williams & Weber 2/62 (plate and mark)

"Ulysses at the Table of Circe"
Plate 8.25in
Illustrations: Coysh & Henrywood 2/201 (plate); Williams & Weber 3/266 (plate and mark)

“Ulysses Following the Car of Nausicaa” *
Item not known

"Ulysses on the Hearth Presenting Himself to Alcinous and Arete" *
Hexagonal jug (size not known)
Illustrations: Snyder 44 (jug)

"Ulysses Weeps at the Song of Demodocus"
Plate 9in
Stand 10.25in
Illustrations: Snyder 44 (plate and mark); Williams & Weber 2/61 (plate and mark)

In view of the fact that there are no examples at all in the club’s online database at the time of writing, this list of eleven scenes seems to be quite a respectable effort. As is usual in this column, an asterisk indicates information that I have not been able to confirm; hence five of the titles are not definite. The list includes five plates, possibly all that exist, but only three platters and no tureens or other open wares. Where are they? Also, with the jug and soap box, it is possible that a basin and other toilet wares may exist. Can anyone out there add to this list?

Responses and/or images would always be more than welcome via email:


Transferware Plate

“Phemius Singing to the Suitors”, blue dinner plate


Typical printed mark, this example from a platter with the scene “Morning”

Transferware box

“Homer Invoking the Muse”, soap box (courtesy: Dawson & Nye)

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