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"Iliad" series (G.L.Ashworth & Bros. of Hanley)

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Transferware from a British Perspective

Black-Bordered Wall Plaques

Number Thirty-Five of an Ongoing Series by Dick Henrywood

Again I have decided to go for something a little bit different for this column. Having completed Volume Four of The Transferware Recorder covering selected patterns from literature, I now keep coming across related wares which I did not manage to cover. With Clementson’s “Classical Antiquities” series in mind, I recalled a similar series of Greek figure patterns on jugs made by the Ashworth firm. On checking my records, I find they are from the same source as the Clementson patterns, so I have assembled the following list:

Iliad series
A series of classical figure patterns made by G.L.Ashworth & Bros. of Hanley. Most of the figures are derived from Flaxman’s illustrations to Homer’s Iliad, hence the title adopted here. They are found particularly on jugs of a distinctive bulbous shape although a teapot has also been recorded and other wares, such as vases, may well exist. The most common background colour is orange although black is not unusual, and blue, green and crimson are also known. I have recorded five different titled scenes to date, all derived from the Flaxman prints:

"Combat Between Hector & Ajax"
"Diomed Casting His Spear Against Mars"
"Fight for the Body of Patroclus”
"Hector's Body Dragged at the Car of Achilles"
"Juno & Minerva Going to Assist the Greeks"

I also have records of a further six unidentified and untitled scenes. They are not based on the Flaxman prints, so the Iliad series title may need to be adjusted in due course.

One typical example is shown here depicting "Hector's Body Dragged at the Car of Achilles" and this particular jug has "Combat Between Hector & Ajax" on the reverse. The combinations of prints do vary from jug to jug. I also show a typical set of marks from a different jug, showing two titles, the impressed mark “ASHWORTH”, and a painted pattern number. I have not yet been able to draw any conclusions about the pattern numbers, although they range between 7052 and 9377 with some also in a B series, presumably slightly later.

There are no illustrations that I can find in the usual transferware literature and none of the scenes appear in the TCC database at the time of writing, although examples are known in the States. This could be a great uncharted area for future researchers. Constructive comments would be welcome, as always (via email, please, to

(Click on images for a larger view.)

Jug with orange ground, "Hector's Body Dragged at the Car of Achilles", height 7.25in Typical printed title marks with impressed maker’s mark and painted pattern number.


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