This spectacular flow blue platter, almost 23 inches long, was typically termed a fish platter, able to accommodate a whole poached salmon. It was produced by the Mercer Pottery Company, which flourished from 1868-1869 to 1938 in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey. The pattern that covers the entire platter is a nature one Charles Eastlake would have favored, with leaves and branches of tiny grapes, the kind that are dried for currants. The oval body has a scalloped rim and a delicate molded swirl at each end. The rim was gilded and some of that gold still remains. The platter is stamped on the back with Mercer's crowned shield mark with the word 'semi-vitreous' beneath it. The capital letter "P" is impressed on the back also, probably some sort of pattern or production code.
This platter measures 22 1/2 inches long, 10 3/4 inches top to bottom at the widest point and 1 3/4 inches high. It weighs 4 pounds, 7 ounces without the fish. The cobalt blue color is fresh and strong and there are no chips, cracks, no stains and no knife cuts on the front. There are a few tiny pops in the clear glaze on the back. While most Victorian era households had lots of plates and bowls, they were fortunate to own one fish platter, so these pieces are difficult to find. For an ironstone piece over 125 years old, it's in remarkable condition and a wonderful collector's item, beautiful on the table and in the china hutch.