Antique SUNDERLAND Lustreware Plaques
* Antique Item
This pair of Sunderland Lustre pottery plaques have "picture frame" edges with molded, raised designs that are trimmed in pearlescent orange, a color not as frequently found as the more ubiquitous pink or copper. The shade on these is pale enough to be alternatively termed 'apricot.' According to the website called "matesoundthepump," the shape is typical of, and attributed to, S. Moore & Co. of Wear (pronounced Wee-er) Pottery in Sunderland. Samuel Moore (1775-1844) and his partner Peter Austin (1770-1863) bought the Wear Pottery about 1802. The name of S. Moore & Co. was used through several changes of ownership, until the pottery was closed and was demolished in 1883. Many of these plaques, like these, are not marked by the pottery that made them.
The maritime plaque has a transfer-printed image of a masted steamer, smoke pouring from the smokestack and flying the British Union Jack flag (center right) and two red pennants. Difficult to discern, there is a dinghy with four sailors in it, riding the waves in front of the ship (it helps to use the "Click to Expand" button). This image is on an orange lustre plaque that is illustrated on the website referenced above. That plaque is marked on the back with an impressed "M" and impressed "Moore & Co." The ship pictured is classified as a "less common ship" on Sunderland lustrewares. Sunderland was one of the largest English shipbuilding towns by the mid-eighteenth century, so items with ship images were extremely popular.
The other transfer is titled "Sunderland Bridge" printed in black under the image. This cast iron bridge over the River Wear was opened in 1796, the longest cast iron bridge in the world at that time. The bridge was later extensively reconstructed and reopened in 1859; it is an east view of the newly leveled span that we see here. This transfer bears the initials of William Mowat (W.M.) on the lower right hand side. Mowat worked as an engraver in Dean Street, Newcastle on Tyne in the 1850's through the 1870's. Both of these plaques date circa 1860 or so.
Each of the plaques measures 8 1/4 inches top to bottom, 9 inches wide and weighs 1 1/4 pounds. A complex and clever method of hanging them was applied to each; the iron wire has oxidized over the many years. The wire was passed through the two openings at the top and then somehow formed into a plate holder so the plaques could be hung on the wall.
The hangers curve up under the fronts of the plaques, which has caused some rubbing and chipping on the bottom edge of the ship plaque. There is also a fine hairline on the back on the lower right corner of that plaque. There are black spots of discoloration on the lustre edges and corners and underglaze stains on the center of the plaque, along with fine craquelure. The bridge plaque has fared somewhat better: it has the black spotting on the lustre to a lesser degree, the fine craquelure and underglaze spotting in the center and a few separations in the transfer. A previous owner put rubber bumpers on the backs of the plaques to protect the wall. As always, we have pictured all of this in our photographs.
These plaques are scarce and display nicely, excellent finds for the collector and Anglophile.
>>>Additional research came from the book, " Sunderland Ware, The Potteries of Wearside" by J.T. Shaw, 1973
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