The Artist and his Rose
I have been going through a big collection of Coalport plates that I acquired a while ago. It has been such a joy of discovery and I keep finding interesting plates in styles I didn't know, or painters I had only heard of but whose items I had never held in my own hands.
The other day I found two plates that are very similar; they both have a beautiful painting of a rose in the centre, one with forget-me-nots in the background, the other with bluebells.
I realised that just one before that, I had bought a teacup made by an unknown factory with a rose and forget-me-nots just like that, and when I checked, the rim of the cup was almost the same as that on one of the plates.
How come? Well, the roses certainly look like they could have been painted by one of the wonderful flower painters who flocked to the potteries in Wales between roughly 1811 and 1822 - or one of their students. The famous William Billingsley came up with a new way to paint flowers, and this influenced a whole generation of painters. When the potteries in Wales started to struggle financially in 1817, many of the painters moved North to the English potteries in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Worcester in search of work. And they took their skills with them, influencing the English factories.
So was this the case of a painter who took his rose and forget-me-nots with him along several factories, painting these plates at Coalport, and the teacup somewhere else?
We will never know, but we can enjoy the art. You can find these beauties in my shop... as well as many other items.
this week's new treasures:
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