|Juvenile & A-B-C Plates|
The fascination of children and trains is universal, so what would be more appropriate for...
The fascination of children and trains is universal, so what would be more appropriate for a child's alphabet plate? Here a locomotive is seen charging out from a tunnel, complete with workmen stoking the engine with coal and passenger carriages in tow.
The depiction of the train is fairly detailed and carefully printed, considering that the plate was intended primarily to amuse children rather than to commemorate the railway's achievement. As with most alphabet plates the enamel highlights--red, blue green and brown--have been quickly and broadly applied, but more "within the lines" than is often the case.
A neatly molded border of letters carries the educational intent of the piece.
|Mark:||No marks-- possibly Edge, Malkin & Co.|
|Dimensions:||Diameter 8 1/4 in.|
Noel Riley, in her two volume work on British juvenile ceramics, Gifts For Good Child...
Noel Riley, in her two volume work on British juvenile ceramics, Gifts For Good Children, The History of Children's China, 1790-1890, (p. 158, no. 574) illustrates this scene noting that the image appeared on the title page of "The Train 'A first-class magazine,' " published by Groomsbridge, London, 1856. She notes a second variation in The Mother's P:icture Alphabet by S.W. Partridge, 1862, appearing with the verse "T begins Tunnel, through which went the Train / That brought Uncle Thomas and me back again."
One detail not to be overlooked is the pretzel like device and initials NSR inscribed on the engine. This is the "Stafford knot," emblem of the county of Staffordshire, and NSR stands for North Staffordshire Railway. The line, known as "The Knotty" was established in 1845 to serve Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Shropshire. It was one manifestation of the mid-century railway revolution in England. Transportation by rail, as well as by waterways, was key to the prosperity of the Midland potteries.
This may be a simple child's plate, but with the NSR notation, it becomes a statement of regional pride.