|Aesthetic Period Transferware|
When a collector familiar with Gildea and Walker's popular "Melbourne" pattern encounters this...
When a collector familiar with Gildea and Walker's popular "Melbourne" pattern encounters this fruit bowl, the first reaction is likely to be puzzlement. Where is the tropical landscape that dominates plates and platters? Instead we have a reduced version of the patchwork assembly of patterns we know from the flat pieces and bird and bamboo vignettes in the Japanesque fashion. There is even a geometric border in the interior that does not appear on plates. The new composition leaves a more open field, showing off the ivory ground color.
Beneath the patchwork bands on the exterior are found two different exotic devices--an arrangement of bamboo and a group of flying cranes. The latter group owes an obvious debt to Christopher Dresser's design for Minton's "Japanese Crane" pattern. The device in the bowl's interior is more complex. An exotic bird perches on a bamboo branch. The design is filled out with prunus and framed reserves with pattern and landscape. The tiny tropical landscape is the sole reminder of the exotic paradise pictured on plates. While we are not ornithologists, we would like to think that the little fellow on the branch is a kookaburra, one link at least to the pattern name.
The bowl is both square and round at the same time – a gently rounded four-sided bowl sits atop a pretty round foot. Soft pleats at each corner create a line which extends from rim to foot.
|Mark:||Backstamp with Pad Mark Registry Diamond|
|Date:||Registered August 27, 1881|
|Dimensions:||Length 8 5/8 in.; width 8 5/8 in.; height 4 3/4 in.|
"Melbourne" is a most curious pattern. For example, there is the rectangular platter with the...
"Melbourne" is a most curious pattern. For example, there is the rectangular platter with the even more unexpected vertical orientation of the design. Even more unusual is the way in which the holloware pieces--bowls, lidded vessels, jugs, and tea wares--coordinate with, rather than match, the plates and platters. Given the apparent popularity of "Melbourne" and the influence it seems to have exerted on other patterns, one must credit the innovative designers at Gildea and Walker with a very great success.