Friday, February 16, 2018


Machin & Co. (1802-1831) 8.5 inch plate in a pattern with a painted mark, "566." Click on the pattern to make the photo larger.  The dogs are tiny!

Chinese New Year in 2018 is the Year of the Dog.  For me, every year is the year of the dog.  Or cat.  Or nearly any animal.  As you may know, I love animals.  Dogs and cats especially.

I have written about dogs before. There are so many transferware patterns that feature dogs.  Since this is a post about Chinese New Year, I'll show you patterns with dogs in the Chinoiserie or Chinese style. All of the patterns are from the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources.  I found 491 patterns with dogs (not all Chinoiserie) by using the General Search of the database. If you like to look at transferware patterns, join the TCC.  There are close to 15,000 patterns. I know this is shameless promotion, but I am one of the editors of the database.

Chinoiserie patterns were among the most popular made by British factories in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and they continued to be popular throughout the 19th century. All of the patterns below are from the first third of the 19th century.  The dogs are small, so look carefully.

Dancing Dog pattern on a 5.63 inch saucer.
Pattern known as Chinese Family on a 9.5 inch plate. The maker is unknown.

Herculaneum (1796-1840) 5.12 inch plate printed with a pattern known as Chinese Family in a garden.

Davenport (1794-1887) saucer known as Chinese Figures and Dog.

Happy New Year!

To see other posts about Chinese New Year and transferware, click on the links below.


Thursday, February 8, 2018


Thomas Elsmore (1872-1887) Seal Hunting 7 inch child's plate

I recently went to visit the elephant seals in Ano Nuevo State Park in California. I have been to see them before.  My first visit in 1972 was without a tour or a docent.  Lots of people walked among resting, mating, and restless elephants seals.  It wasn't ideal for either elephant seals or humans.  Now you need a reservation and a docent.

The beach is filled with elephant seals.  Some of the sandy lumps are actually elephant seals covered in sand.  They cover themselves with sand to stay cool. You can click on the photo to make it larger.

The child's plate above is the only transferware pattern with seals that I could find. (The seals are not elephant seals.)  If there are other seal patterns, let me know.  The pattern shows the clubbing and hooking of seals. The molded alphabet border does aid in learning the alphabet, but the clubbing of seals would be deemed an inappropriate gift for today's child. (To see other inappropriate patterns for children follow this link.)

In the 19th century, elephant seals were hunted to near extinction. They were actually thought to be extinct by 1884, but a group of eight were discovered in 1892 on Guadalupe Island in Mexico by a Smithsonian expedition. Unfortunately, the Smithsonian scientists killed seven of the elephant seals for the Smithsonian collections!  Luckily, there were more elephant seals elsewhere.  The Mexican government and the United States government have protected elephant seals since the early 20th century, and there are now many thousands of them.

The elephant seal gets its name from the large proboscis of the adult male or bull.  The bull weighs around 5500 pounds, which is the size of a large car. The docent mentioned a Cadillac SUV. The bulls can move between 1 to 2 miles an hour, so you definitely don't want to get between them and a female or rival.  Thus, the importance of a guided visit.

Notice the large proboscis of the male elephant seal. The female is a lot smaller and her face is like more common seals.

I'll add that the elephant seal does not have the velvety fur of the fur seal.  It feels like coarse hair (the docent had a sample for us to feel).  It is lucky that the elephant seal was not hunted for its fur as well as its blubber (used for oil lamps).

It was lovely to visit such a beautiful state park and such unusual animals.  California is filled with natural wonders.  Let's hope all of these animals and natural beauties are preserved for us and future generations. It is not a given.

A few more things or a digression.  On the way home I stopped to take photos of the lighthouse at Pigeon Point.  I also ate lunch at Duarte's (in business at the same place since 1894) in Pescadero.  If you like artichokes, seafood, and pie, you will be very happy. I bought a hot from the oven strawberry and rhubarb pie and an olallie pie for David.  We shared them with friends and family.  They are huge and delicious.

Pigeon Point and Pigeon Point Lighthouse near Pescadero, California. Thank you Barbara for making us stop!

This is what is left of the Olallie Berry and Strawberry Rhubarb pies.

Mrs. Duarte's photo appears on the pie box.

I have traveled to many places in the world, but to quote Dorothy: "There's no place like home."

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Don Pottery (1801-1839) 5.5 inch plate showing the pattern known as Dancing Dog. The woman is playing a hurdy-gurdy.

While adding patterns to the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources,  I noticed a pattern of a young girl playing a guitar-like instrument.  I knew the instrument wasn't a guitar.  It was a hurdy-gurdy.  How I knew this was a surprise to me.  Somewhere deep in my brain was the word and the image.  The hurdy-gurdy must have made an impression on me at some point, so I decided to do a bit of research.  I assumed the hurdy-gurdy was a carnival instrument of fairly recent (last one hundred and fifty years) invention, but I was wrong.

Close-up of the Dancing Dog pattern with hurdy-gurdy.

The hurdy-gurdy, according to Wikipedia, goes back to the early Middle Ages.  The website shows a photo of the hurdy-gurdy or its close relative, the organistrum, on a frieze on the 12th century Portico da Gloria on the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Playing an organistrum, which is an early relative of the hurdy-gurdy.

The hurdy-gurdy is also found in the triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, "The Garden of Early Delights." The triptych has been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager.  Bosch too.  If the people look unhappy, it is because they find themselves in the part of the triptych that depicts Hell! 

Detail showing the first known depiction of a buzzing bridge on a hurdy-gurdy (see the instrument to the right of the harp).

Garden of Earthly Delights, 1495-1505 (these dates vary).  The left panel depicts the Garden of Eden, the center panel is Earth or the garden of earthly delights, and the right panel is The Last Judgement or Hell.

I was not totally wrong about thinking the hurdy-gurdy was used by 19th century itinerant or carnival players.  See the photo below.

An 1887 drawing of vagabonds with a hurdy-gurdy

As I have said many times, transferware patterns lead me to new discoveries such as this history of the hurdy-gurdy.  Is the instrument still played today?  Yes!  Google Hurdy-Gurdy and lots of YouTube videos will appear.

Composer Bear McCreary plays his hurdy-gurdy.

Or listen to Donavan sing his '60s "Hurdy Gurdy Man."  And hear Schubert's 1830s "Der Leiermann" (Hurdy Gurdy Man).

I digress.  Such fun!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


My dresser has some new items: small platters and children's mugs! Click on the photo to make it larger.

I can't believe it has been five years and 285 posts! I have learned so much from the study of transferware patterns and I have enjoyed writing about new discoveries (at least to me).  However, I mainly want to thank everyone who reads my blog. As I said last year, there would be no blog without readers and encouragement.

Below are some of my posts that are the most popular.

The Clematis post remains my most popular post ever!  This may be because people think this is a horticultural post.  Also, the pattern is gorgeous.

Toast Water Jug and Recipes.  Probably popular because of the delicious recipes.  I jest.

Two Color Transferware. 

Custard Cups


Aesop's Fables and The Dog in the Manger 

Here are some of my posts that have been popular during the last year.

Joel Roberts Poinsett and Chile and American Diplomacy

Cape Coast Castle and Slavery

Transferware Pap Boats

Transferware Collectors Club 2017 Annual Meeting 
This is not my collection, but I wish it were!

Thanks again for a wonderful five years of "Dishy News!"

Monday, January 15, 2018


Elkin, Knight & Co. (1822-1826) Cat Wearing Clothes 4 inch plate.

January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day.  Really.  There is a national day for everything.  I would have ignored this special day if I hadn't owned a charming plate that shows a cat wearing clothes! It is also walking on its hind legs.  My cats would never wear clothes or walk on hind legs without a fight!  The pussy cat pictured in this pattern seems much more docile that Charlotte or Percy.  It seems quite happy to entertain the little girl.  I, in turn, am entertained by this delightful pattern.

Close-up of Cat Wearing Clothes. Notice the delight on the face of the little girl.  Her mother too.  And the cat!

There is nothing but disdain on Percy's face for the cat wearing clothes!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


F & R Pratt multicolored transfer print "The Hop Queen" with a malachite border, ca. 1851

My husband bought a lovely Prattware comport printed with a pattern called "The Hop Queen."  I am glad he did because I love the bright colors and charming scene of a little girl being decorated with a crown of hop flowers.  I learned it was copied from the 1835 painting by W.F. Witherington titled "The Crown of Hops" or "The Hop Garland."

"The Crown of Hops" by W.F. Witherington, ca. 1855

I encouraged David to buy more of these lovely multicolored transferware plates and comports.  Be careful what you encourage!

Some Prattware comports: "The Hop Queen" and "The Blind Fiddler." There are two of each pattern, although with different borders. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Below is a photo of the the other pattern, "The Blind Fiddler," shown in the grouping above.

Pratt Pottery "The Blind Fiddler" copied from a painting by Sir David Wilkie. The border is called the 1-2-3 border.

"The Blind Fiddler" by Sir David Wilkie, 1806.
According to K.V. Mortimer's book "Pot -Lids," much, if not most, of the patterns on what he calls ware (not pot lids, but dishes and comports) were copied from famous and well-loved paintings. The book is illustrated with photos of lovely patterns with many different borders.  I recommend Mortimer's book to anyone to wants more knowledge about this type of transferware.  I, on the other hand, just want more of the ware!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Child's plate, "Hold Out Your Hand You Rascal," with a molded alphabet border.

A child's plate with the text "Hold Your Hand Out Your Rascal" didn't surprise me.  A teacher hitting a child's hand with a switch was something most children could relate to in the 19th century in England and America. The plate with the molded alphabet border was intended as a gift for a child. Perhaps as a warning.  And, although some of us look at this pattern as inappropriate for today's child, it was seen as appropriate and humorous in the 19th century.

I thought I'd learn about corporal (physical) punishment in schools today.  I knew corporal punishment in schools was common in England and the United States in the 19th century.  And before.  I didn't realize that it remained legal in England and America throughout the 20th century.  England didn't abolish corporal punishment in state schools until 1986 and in public and private schools that received no state funding (what we'd call private schools in the U.S.) until 1998.  However, in the United States, there is no Federal law outlawing corporal punishment! As of 2014, there are still nineteen states that allow it: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. That said, the first state to outlaw corporal punishment was New Jersey in 1867.  The second was Massachusetts in 1971!  One hundred and four years later.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.  I will add that some states require parental permission for corporal punishment.

My own state of origin, Pennsylvania, didn't outlaw corporal punishment until 2005.  It was never anything I saw or experienced when I went to a Philadelphia public elementary school in the 1950s.  My mother, who went to the same elementary school in the 1920s, said she did witness corporal punishment. Mainly boys.

What about corporal punishment such as spanking by a parent?  That is a topic for you to explore, but it is legal in every U.S. state.

I digress as usual because I was flabbergasted that corporal punishment was still legal in schools in 19 states and in every private home in every state.  Transferware patterns continue to open windows onto new knowledge.

One more pattern.  Below is a pot lid found in the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources.  The boy is about to be birched or beaten by his teacher (or parent) with a birch stick.

"A Rebel, or Jack at Old Birch's" 2.88 inch pot lid.