Children's Kewpie ABC Plate Made in Germany Signed Rose O'Neill
- Vintage item
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This is a children's alphabet plate, meant to serve a child’s food while teaching the alphabet. These plates were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and have been collected ever since. This one is decorated with a pair of kewpies, designed by illustrator Rose O'Neill, which were initially printed as comic strip characters in the Ladies' Home Journal. As a cartoon described them "Kewpie Elves are Happy Spirits Neither Boy or Girl." Kewpies went on to be made as bisque dolls in Germany beginning in 1912. They also appeared as paper dolls, postcards, prints, and many other items, including china and porcelain, like this one. (The black and white photograph is of Rose O'Neill, of course).
Two kewpies, one with a knitted scarf and cap and the other with just knitted socks, are centered on the pure white porcelain and surrounded with the letters of the alphabet, printed in gilt block capitals around the rim of the 6 inch plate. On the reverse is Rose O'Neill's very distinctive signature, the word Kewpie and the word Germany, all in underglaze green script. It was possibly made by Royal Rudolstadt in Prussia and just missed its manufacturer's logo mark. Given that the kewpies were first published in 1909 and items were required to be marked "Made in..." starting in 1921, we're comfortable dating this plate between 1909 and 1921. It's in absolutely pristine condition, including the gilding, and a joy to the collector of ABC plates and/or kewpies.