Monday, July 25, 2011

Saucer of the Week: English Stand

I am somewhat chagrined that it has been more than a week since I last published one of my saucer scribbles, and—for that matter—more than a week since I last posted anything.  That's because I have been rather over-scheduled and over-committed these past several weeks.  Fortunately it has all been good stuff, but I'm afraid that even a good thing, if delivered in too great quantities, can be, well, too much.  I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm explaining.

Back to the subject at hand: Saucer of the Week.  Well, not a saucer this week, actually, but rather a stand.  Today's featured plate is an exceptionally pretty and unusually decorated oval rimmed stand that was originally made to hold another vessel, such as a teapot or a small sauce tureen.  Whatever it once held has long since parted ways.

But what remains is lovely indeed.  The stand is English, circa 1820.  It is decorated with magenta bell flowers and frothy seaweed-like vegetation.  I haven't a clue what type of plant the decoration is supposed to suggest.  I would appreciate your thoughts, Dear Reader, if you know what it might be.  The plate measures 6 ¾ inches by 5 ³⁄₈ inches and is unmarked.

The stand was a birthday gift to me earlier this month from Boy, who found it at Bardith, Ltd.'s tiny jewel of a shop on upper Madison Avenue.  When he was there Boy mentioned to the ladies who run the place that the plate he was buying would quite possibly be the subject of a post in my continuing series on saucers.  Apparently the good ladies of Bardith weren't interested in that bit of news in the slightest.

Reggie who?

photograph by Boy Fenwick


  1. In general decorative terms, I would describe the floral design as a variation of the traditional bell flower. But I look forward to what the experts say.

  2. Hello Reggie:
    Probably best that the Bardith ladies did not know to whom they were seling in order that the price was not unduly inflated. Surely a post by a top blogger would have added considerably to the selling price!

    Your stand is very pretty and the colours so attractive. The flowers resemble those of a Clematis to us, together with its twining stems, but we may be completely off the mark there.

  3. Dear Reggie,
    This gift from Mr. Fenwick is undoubtedly an undertray for a teapot of oval form. There is the possibility that it was the compliment to a small sauce tureen or chestnut basket. Both decoration and small form suggest the date to be early 19th c. when tea services were made for the growing enjoyment of tea.
    Many undertrays became separated, some were left in cupboards and few have survived. I have collected many teapots and only a very few undertrays. I am amazed how my finds have rarely matched patterns in all of my 55 years of searching. It underscores the great quantity of earthenwares that were produced for the export or domestic English markets.
    These undertrays are orphans and they give pleasure and often record a pattern rarely matched.
    A few years ago I did buy a rare copper lustre undertray with reticulated edge and marked "Wilson". This undertray came from an ebay seller in a mid southern city. Three weeks later an auction house catalogue arrived from a firm in the same city. Within a grouping of ceramics there was a copper lustre basket with reticulation, signed "Wilson". I did some research and discovered the pieces came from the same estate, but were not associated as a set and dispersed separately. Within weeks the set was reassembled and the slight wear spots on the undertray surface matched exactly to the bottom high spots of the basket. Glaze, design, shape and size were a match in photos, with the same impressed maker's marks, but quite exciting to compare wear and know these two pieces had rubbed together for 200 years.

    This tale is a reminder that items are easily separated in our cupboards and due to breakage some dishes become orphans.
    Enjoy your teapot undertray. Try to assemble a group of undertrays in various patterns and please let everyone know to what use they have been employed. I have seen a group as a wall decoration.

  4. DTC: Thank you, that is what I have supposed, too.

    Lance and Jane Hattat: I am afraid the Bardith ladies knew exactly what they were selling, and the price was, I am told, as "inflated" as would be expected in such a shop as theirs. Should you ever visit New York, I encourage you to visit their shop, it is a treasure trove, with prices to match.

    Anon 6:17: I agree with you, I suspect it is a teapot stand. We have a teapot with stand of the same era and form (the stand at least) that I plan to post on shortly (you have inspired me, thank you!). What a marvelous coincidence that you were able to reunite your lustre stand with its basket, how exciting! Thank you for your scholarly and informative comment.

    DMC: I believe you are correct, the form is very similar to photographs of fritallaria I found on the internet after reading your comment. Thank you!

  5. I love the design of this stand. It seems to go beyond simply "pretty" flower decoration, and take us into the age of plant exploration, when flowers were exciting in a botanical way, and not just a formalized design element.

    What a great dish, and a great complement to your saucer collection.

  6. Dear Mr. Darling,

    Happy belated birthday, and what a truly lovely gift from Boy. I believe you are in possession of a teapot stand too, probably made by one of the Worcester factories. I have a couple of these stands in my collection, the latest being acquired on my trip back home to London, and one that I am sure you'd also appreciate being as it was manufactured around the same period as yours. It also has a beautiful rusty orange and gilt design to it.

    I adore the decoration of your stand and haven't a clue what type of foliage adorns it. Perhaps it is a stylized frothy fern, or a herb such as dill, or even fennel fronds. It is most pleasing, whatever the botanical provenance.

  7. Those ladies in the shop don't know what they're missing. Happy Birthday to the boy who owns that wonderful stand and whom we have all come to know and appreciate.


  8. What a lovely stand - whatever it is!! And yes, I can't imagine that you would ever get any deals from the ladies at Bardith!!

  9. Well, It is so beautiful in border. This thing is a reminder that items are easily separated in our cupboards and due to breakage some dishes become orphans.

  10. I'm going to start collecting saucers. With a vengeance. I will control this market within six-months.


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