Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Pomona Serving Dish

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Here's a serving dish which would make any host or hostess proud. It is decorated with images that are influenced by typically asymmetrical Japanese designs. Such dishes were manufactured in large numbers and were meant to appeal to the late Nineteenth-Century customer with little money to spare.

The composition of the design of this transfer-printed pattern includes asymmetrically placed, unrelated scenes unified by an apple tree which is set in a marshy landscape. Two of the scenes appear to be of the British countryside, while the third is, rather curiously of a pelican. The pattern is named "Pomona" after the goddess of fruit, especially apple, trees.

This is probably the work of Worthington & Harrop of the Dresden Works, Hanley, Staffordshire, which is known to have been in operation from 1856 to 1873. However, it might also have been made by Wood & Hulme (Henry Hulme) of Garfield Pottery, Burslem, Staffordshire, operating from about 1882 to 1932. Oddly enough, both of these potteries used "W&H" as their mark.

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