Sample Plate (England), 1870–90
This unmarked plate is of interest for the way it illustrates the phases of the decorating process. It shows progressive sections along the rim: first, a tan-glazed ground color with applied interlaced curving blue bands and, then, the application of gilding to enhance the surface. In this case, the gilding is a floral border along the rim and a stylized floral decoration in the center of the white well. The plate also bears a number on its face in gilding that may indicate a pattern or coloring code.
This plate is an example of the “sampling” format. This format was widely used by manufacturers to assist consumers in choosing the right combination of color, design, and materials, for products ranging from textiles to dinner plates. These products have become stylistic indicators of the time in terms of the choices of color and design. They also are beautiful artifacts in the arrangement of visual information on either the page of a sample book or the rim of a plate.
Sample plates are relatively rare and greatly enrich the museum’s documentary holdings related to ceramics design, technology, and marketing.
It is credited
Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund.
Its dimensions are
H x diam.: 2.5 x 23.5 cm (1 x 9 1/4 in.)
It has the following markings
In well of plate, written in gold above central decoration: "6" over "2605"
Cite this object as
Sample Plate (England), 1870–90; glazed and gilt porcelain; H x diam.: 2.5 x 23.5 cm (1 x 9 1/4 in.); Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund; 2003-5-2