A tall, opulently decorated piece in the style of Louis XVI, this graceful pitcher was made in England around the turn of the last century. The porcelain body is a lovely pale cream color, decorated with transfers of faded red and blue flowers. It's overlaid with a porcelain ribbon with light blue pierced lattice work and raised, hand painted flowers. The trim was hand painted, umber with lots of gilding, on the ribbon, the rim of the high spout, the arched scrolled handle and the foot rim.
Measuring 14 inches tall, the pitcher sits on a base 4 1/2 inches in diameter and is 7 inches across from spout to handle. It weighs 4 pounds and is in very good condition with overall craquelure and one chip on the edge of the ribbon, unseen when the pitcher is displayed with the handle to the right (we've pointed it out with a red arrow in one of our photos) and with all the detail and gilding, not obvious when the handle is to the left.
There are two marks on the bottom of this pitcher. The first is a distinctive circular belt called a garter mark, here printed in red. The Staffordshire garter mark was used extensively in nineteenth century England. Inside the garter is the word "EMPIRE." While Godden* lists 18 different marks for the Empire Porcelain Works (“Co. Ltd” later replaced "Works"), none of them remotely resemble this one. Pieces similar to this pitcher with the same mark have occasionally turned up and the possibility that the word EMPIRE is the pattern name has been suggested.
The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 required that the name of the country where the ceramic was originally made had to to be printed on the piece. Many British potteries simply stamped "England" separately from their mark (seen in black on the bottom of this pitcher) until they got around to incorporating the word into their mark's design. (In 1914, the law was revised to require that the mark had to include "Made in _____.") To sum up, we're dating this pitcher circa 1900, although it may be a few years earlier but no later than 1915.
*Encyclopedia of British pottery and Porcelain Marks" by Geoffrey A. Godden, 1991 revised edition.