Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Coker Brooch, 1816-1840

Biscuit Porcelain Brooch
George Coker
Derby, 1816-1840
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Derby, this attractive and delicate plaque dates between 1816 and 1840. The floral plaque of biscuit porcelain was made by Derby’s George Coker. Coker has been an apprentice at the Nottingham Road factory in Derby, leaving in 1817 to open his own porcelain business in Friar Gate, Derby. There, he produced porcelain figures and plaques such as this one.

Floral designs of this era were more than just pretty objects, they had meaning and socially-understood symbolism. Lilies of the valley, like the ones here, signified a “return to happiness” while the convolvulus which forms the centerpiece of the plaque represented “the bonds of love.”  Also included in the spray are "Forget-Me-Nots."

The plaque is set in a plain gold slip and, on the reverse, is marked with the symbols of Coker and his wife.

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