|Aesthetic Period Transferware|
Wedgwood's "Mediaeval" pattern, a complex assemblage of Japanese patterns, presented with...
Wedgwood's "Mediaeval" pattern, a complex assemblage of Japanese patterns, presented with sharp diagonal angles and accented with stylized florals and Japanese crests or mons, is tamed down quite a bit when applied to a large-scale soup tureen, stand, and ladle. The additional blank ground involved in the form reduces most of the printed pattern to border width. The pattern only appears in its full complexity in the center of the stand (a piece that begs to be displayed vertically behind the tureen--not hidden underneath). The effect is crisp and graphic--enough so to render the piece compatible with many different styles and periods.
Date marks on this piece include a registry mark for September 1878, a raised registry pad mark under the tureen base for October 1876 -- likely the registry date for the tureen shape; and a Wedgwood impressed date mark on the tureen foot for 1877, indicating the actual production date for the blank tureen body.
|Mark:||Backstamp, Impressed and Pad Marks|
|Date:||Date code for 1877, Registry Mark for 1878|
|Dimensions:||Overall height 8 1/2 in.; Tureen: length 13 1/4 in., width 9 1/4 in., height 8 1/2 in.; Undertray: length 14 1/4 in., width 10 7/8 in.|
One may well ask, "What is mediaeval about this Japanesque patchwork plate? We can offer...
One may well ask, "What is mediaeval about this Japanesque patchwork plate?
We can offer two points of explanation. As in the medieval-inspired work of Owen Jones, A.W.N. Pugin, or Christopher Dresser, the pattern displays a clear geometry--even in shapes derived from organic forms. This trait seems to have been strongly associated with the Middle Ages for the Victorian designer or consumer. Second, in the romanticized Victorian view of Japan, the society of that far off land merged with a nostalgic view of the Middle Ages, each untainted by the problems of urbanization and industrialization.
It would seem that Wedgwood utilized the "Medieval" pattern both for table and decorative ware. The un-enameled brown transfer examples, surely this soup tureen, were intended for food service. We have also seen polychrome demitasse cups and saucers suggesting the production of at least tea and dessert services in colored versions. Some plates, however, are so dramatically embellished with dramatic colors that one supposes they were "rack" plates intended for display on plate rails or sideboards.