This is a very rare plate made by Herculaneum in about 1810. The plate is made of a light creamware and decorated with a wonderful Greek pattern depicting Zeus and various other gods.


The Herculaneum pottery was based in Liverpool and operated between 1793 and 1841. It produced very high quality and well designed creamware, pearlware and in the 19th Century also porcelain. The "Greek" series was a very well-known and popular design that can still be found, although given the short time the factory was in operation as well as its relatively small size, these items are now rare.


In about 1800, the famous Spode factory in Staffordshire created a transfer printing process that could mass produce beautifully decorated blue and white wares, making this a very common and desired choice of tableware for the two centuries to come. Potters all over Britain quickly started to make use of this new technology and copied the famous Spode patterns. Herculaneum started using this technique in different colours, such as this red and brown, but as these colours could not be printed under the glaze, they were applied on top of the glaze. This resulted in very vibrant decorations, however they were also more vulnerable to wear, which you can see on this plate.


This plate is decorated in the "Greek" fashion, which was inspired by the exciting 18th and 19th Century excavations of ancient sites of Greek, Roman, Minoan and Etruscan origin in Southern Europe. In particular, these images were also used by Spode and are copies of the famous Kirk etchings from 1804 of Hamilton's Etruscan vases that were purchased by the British Museum. In the centre of the plate is a large image of Zeus in his chariot with four horses, throwing his thunderbolt. You can see the sparks coming off the horses' feet, which are drawn with beautiful movement - you can imagine the thundering noise and trampling feet. Around the rim of the plate are four images inside amphora-shaped panels, and four images in hexagonal panels. You can see Apollo with his beloved harp, Narcissus admiring himself in his mirror, Hephaestus with his anvil and hammer and Dionysus frolicking around. There are more images that I could not identify - any suggestions are welcome!


The plate is marked with the imprinted "H" for Herculaneum.


CONDITION REPORT The plate is in excellent antique condition without any damage, however it is worn. The overglaze red decorations are vulnerable to knife marks and you can see the scratches clearly in the picture. The black edge of the rim is worn. Other than this, there is no damage.


Kilns were fired on coal in the late 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles, and the glazing surface can be a little uneven in places. This is normal for antique items from the 19th Century. This plate was fired smoothly and you see very few imperfections.


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. If they are from the 19th Century, please note that items fired in coal-fired kilns nearly always have irregularities at the surface and/or specks under the glazing. 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 24.5cm (9 3/4") diameter


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK, mostly by Royal Mail 2nd Class for the UK and International Tracked and Signed for the rest of the world. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. In some countries shipping will end up significantly more than the expected fees and I will contact you to discuss our options. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING SHIPPING COSTS AND OPTIONS.

Herculaneum plate, red Greek Kirk pattern Zeus, ca 1810

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


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    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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