This is a very rare and beautiful plate made by Swansea between 1815 and 1820. It is the famous "Japan" pattern with elaborate gilding, three flower panels, and a garden scene in the middle. A similar example of this pattern (no 219) can be seen in Sir Leslie Joseph's book "Swansea Porcelain" on page 174.


The Swansea pottery became famous in the early 19th Century under the leadership of porcelain pioneers Lewis Weston Dillwyn and William Billingsley for its extremely high quality of Welsh porcelain, made with locally sourced clay. Creating this porcelain was unprofitable business; although it was among some of the most beautiful porcelains ever made (and Dillwyn and Billingsley were obsessed with developing this Welsh porcelain), its volatile character meant that wastage in the kiln could be up to 90% and the both the Swansea pottery and its competitor Nantgarw had to struggle through various periods of optimism of improvements and financial ruin. Ultimately, both potteries had to close their doors, but their legacy is extraordinary, not only in the quality of porcelain but also the very talented painters they attracted. Many of these painters would go on to other British potteries to teach others the uniquely beautiful art of flower painting that had been developed in these Welsh potteries.


Due to the relatively short time of successful operation and the high kiln wastage and therefore rather small output, Swansea items today are extremely rare and hard to get - they are true collectors' items and to come across a plate of this quality is a rare opportunity.


This beautiful plate is stunning in various ways. It is lightly potted in the famous Swansea porcelain, which is a soft body with a high translucency (visible on the back of the plate). The shape is exceptionally simple and elegant; many other potters of the time made plates either more heavy or added elaborate mouldings.


But the most stunning part is the decoration. Placed on a not-quite-cobalt blue ground - more a vibrant navy blue - is an elaborate pattern of gilt foliage, interspersed with orange exotic flowers. There are three floral panels on the rim, two of which are connected by a blue and gilt band. In the centre of the plate is a beautiful garden scene with large exotic flowers and foliage, green sprigs and a blue peacock popping out of what seem to be banana leaves. Those leaves are interesting; at first sight it may look as if their blue colour has worn a bit, but closer inspection reveals that the colour was applied underglaze and left unfinished on purpose, in order to create a more interesting and lively effect. The plate effortlessly combines Asian motifs of exotic flowers, a Chinese garden and a peacock, with high-Regency floral panels of roses, violets and other English flowers, all held together with the superb quality of gilding that Swansea was famous for.


The plate is entirely unmarked but can be identified from known patterns, see above.


This plate would make a fabulous addition to the collection of any serious collector.


CONDITION REPORT The plate is in excellent antique condition. There are some firing marks to the back: a stress crack in the foot of the plate, and a blemish in the glazing on the lower rim; both of these kiln accidents are visible in the picture. There is no crazing and no damage and the plate rings beautifully when tapped. There is some very light surface wear on the face of the plate, as well as some rubbing of the gilt around the edges; it is extremely little and to be expected from an item that is about 200 years old.


Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. Apart from the stress crack and blemish mentioned before, you might see some blue underglaze specks here and there.


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 (diameters): 21.5cm


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.


Rare plate with Japan pattern, Swansea ca 1815

  • 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.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    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! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

    You are subject to the EU Consumers Rights Act, which protects your rights buying over the internet.


    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! 

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China, London UK  

copyright on all images and text

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