This blue transfer pearlware toy platter would originally have been part of a toy dinner s...
This blue transfer pearlware toy platter would originally have been part of a toy dinner service. The pattern, "Queen of Sheba" is a scaled down version of a standard tableware pattern. The shape and potting is typical of toy pieces of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The nature of the transfer printing indicates production during the second or third decade of the nineteenth century.
In the tableau, which is known in both toy and adult pieces, the Queen of Sheba sallies forth on her journey to meet Solomon. (In the larger tableware pieces, she displays an oversize olive branch intended for Solomon.) Pygmy attendants scurry along keeping her ermine trimmed cloak from dragging in the dust and holding a sunshade over her head lest she become fatigued. The road behind her leads to a gothic inspired enclosure while an exotic eastern temple appears on the left. In the faint transfer at the top of the scene, two figures watch her progress from a distant island.
The border adds foliage detail to a typical patchwork of Chinese patterns.
|Dimensions:||Length 4 1/2 in.; width 3 3/4 in.|
While the "Queen of Sheba" pattern is well-documented, the identity of the manufacturer is...
While the "Queen of Sheba" pattern is well-documented, the identity of the manufacturer is still debated. In English Toy China, Doris Lechler attributes the pattern to Spode. The Transferware Collectors Club sources point to Minton. Coysh and Henrywood in The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery, 1780-1880 avoid the issue altogether.
While we do not have one definitive source print for this design, it is pointed out in the catalog to the 1998 exhibit True Blue: Transfer Printed Earthenware, that the image of the exotic eastern queen in procession with pygmy attendants carrying a protective sunshade was a familiar motif in London shop signs through most of the eighteenth century (pp. 59,101, no. 14, 14A).