This is a beautiful dinner plate made by an unknown maker in the 1880s. There are impressed marks on the back, but I have not been able to identify them (suggestions are welcome!). The plate is made of fine bone china that is bright white and has a translucent quality. It depicts two blue tits frolicking around in gilt foliage. The plate clearly is of the Aesthetic Movement period.

 

English pottery produced many beautiful and very precise depictions of birds and flowers all through the 19th Century; the pottery artists often became knowledgeable botanists and ornithologists and would study long hours in the evening by candlelight to educate themselves on the subject matter. But these birds and flowers would be painted like silent objects of beauty, with very little selfhood. A greater capacity for self-awareness that emerged with the rising and well-educated middle class in the late 19th Century also meant that human beings suddenly started to see nature through nature's eyes, and birds were no longer passive objects of beauty, but actors in a world shared with humans. The Aesthetic Movement was a rebellion against the overly-opulent Victorian style that used flowers and birds for ever-more elaborate designs meant to impress the rich and powerful. Art was supposed to be beautiful for its own sake, not to glorify its owner. It brought art back to the basics of nature - and Queen Victoria herself was quite an influence on this with her personal taste for natural and even quirky designs. Birds became actors who work, eat and love just like humans, and they were depicted going about their daily business of nesting, seducing, bringing up young, eating and playing.

 

These birds are very busy indeed. The two blue tits (just about the most ordinary birds you can find in the English countryside!) are frolicking around in branches with beautiful gilt foliage. What is special is that the tits have been relief-moulded, making them seem even more alive. The foliage is also applied with some relief in the paint, giving an impression that you can hear it rustling in the wind. The plate is cheerful and lively and beautifully coloured. Unfortunately some of the colour has worn off a little, probably that is stacking wear. But if you look well, you can see each and every feather; the birds are fluffy and utterly real.

 

This set would make a fantastic gift to a bird lover. It has served many generations and is still good for a next journey through life, bringing a unique touch of lasting history!

 

CONDITION REPORT The plate is in good antique condition with no damage. There is some wear; the relief moulded birds have worn a bit (probably stacking wear) particularly the blue patches on their heads, and there are some cutting marks on the surface of the plate; it clearly has had its use. The plate rings like a bell when tapped and the porcelain is beautifully white and translucent.

 

Please note that all items in my shop are of vintage or antique condition. They have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear. I will reflect any damage, repairs or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks and stains can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.

 

There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can see with the eye; a hairline runs over the surface glazing but not the body of the item and a crack runs through the body of the item, usually weakening its structure. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!

 

DIMENSIONS: 23cm (9").

 

 

Aesthetic Movement dinner plate with birds, 1880s

SKU: A-ANO14
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