RARE ORANGE TRANSFERWARE PLATE ~ ELF in HORNET'S NEST

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  • Item Category: Ceramics
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Mar 18,2007
  • Channel: Online Auction

Rare Aesthetic
Transferware Plate
STIRRING UP A HORNET'S NEST ~ EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF William Brownfield
Cobridge
Staffordshire England
c. 1880

This is an fabulous transferware plate, transfer printed in a spectactular rust red or dark orange. The plate measures 9" in diameter.

It is decorated with a fantasy image of a three elfin children who have stirred up a hornet's nest. The hornets or bees are attacking them, and the boys are trying to get themselves out of the predicament without any concern for anyone else. They can be seen running every which way -- one bare bottomed boy is diving into the water, one has fallen over a rock, and the third is running as away. The plate is titled on the back side, "SAUVE QUI PEUT", an early idiom which translates from Latin as "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF".

This whimsical Aesthetic movement image is part of an early series of fantasy images with elves, fairies and gnomes. The person from whom we purchased the plate said that the design is based on The Water-Babies, a Victorian children's novel by the Charles Kingsley, written in 1862, a mainstay of early children's literature, written as a moral educational fable. The protagonist of the book is Tom, an inquisitive young boy who falls into a river w he is transformed into a "water baby" and begins his moral education, embarking on a series of adventures and lessons in the company of other water babies. The main characters he meets along the way are fairies and elves, each teaching him a moral or spiritual lesson.

The plate is in great condition, with no chips, cracks, stains, or repairs. Very light utensil marks a minor wear, consistent with age and prior use.

In addition to the title of the plate, it is marked with a registration lozenge and the impressed name of William Brownfield, a pottery manufacturer in the Staffordshire district of England in the mid-to-late 19th century. Transfer printed earthenware plates of this quality in this pattern are especially unique. This delightful plate is as good as it gets, a perfect gift for collectors of fantasy wares and children's literature buffs! Take a look at the rest of our listings this week, and feel free to ask us about the other plates we have from the same series. We are always happy to combine postage for multiple purchases.

Please send us an email with any questions or if you would like to see additional photos.

Thank you for bidding!