Plate, "Natural Bridge, Virginia"
These ceramics are decorated with American landscape scenes and were made in England for the American market. Before the 1840s, only the elite could afford dinnerware, then made of expensive porcelain. One of the early fruits of the Industrial Revolution was the production of inexpensive machine-molded and mechanically decorated earthenware for the middle class. These objects were decorated by the transfer technique, in which the scene is engraved on a metal plate, inked, printed on paper, and then pressed, or transferred, onto the ceramic body.
9 3/16 x 9 3/16 in. (23.3 x 23.3 cm) (show scale)
Base printed with spray of flowers and foliage and the legend: "NATURAL BRIDGE / VIRGINIA / E W & S / CELTIC CHINA"; also black numeral "10"
Gift of Mrs. Ben P. Grant in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Fleming Payne
Earthenware plate, gray and white transfer-printed. In center, scene of the Natural Bridge, Virginia, within a border of fruit and flowers around rim.
This item is not on view
Enoch Wood & Sons (active 1818-1846). Plate, "Natural Bridge, Virginia," ca. 1840. Earthenware, 9 3/16 x 9 3/16 in. (23.3 x 23.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Ben P. Grant in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Fleming Payne, 72.184.11. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.184.11_bw.jpg)
overall, 72.184.11_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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What is the technique used to make these?
These are what is called transferware. Rather than being hand painted, which was traditionally very expensive and labor-intensive work, these designs were transferred from metal plates, a process derived from printed book illustrations. In fact, many of the decorations would be copied from images in published books.