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This is a very striking and rare dessert plate made by Samuel Alcock around the year 1828. The plate is square and has the "inverted shell" moulding with pierced borders, a deep maroon border, and beautiful hand painted flowers in the centre.


Samuel Alcock was a major potter in Staffordshire between the 1820s and 1840s. He is probably one of the most under-appreciated potters of that era, creating a huge and very high quality output but as he didn't mark his wares, many got attributed to other factories and his name largely forgotten. Only recently are people starting to recognise the extraordinary quality of these wares, and this piece is a great example of the creativity and beautiful of their Rococo Revival designs.


The shape of this plate is often called the "inverted shell" or "dropped shell" shape. There is a huge amount of confusion around this shape as it was made by Alcock, Rathbone, Machin, Ridgway, New Hall and Minton, and possibly others... I believe this one to be from Alcock, based on the fact that it is pierced, the pattern number and the quality of the painting and the colour.


That being said, while the ground colour in maroon is absolutely beautiful and quite rare, it is not perfectly applied and some of it has leaked onto the moulded shell detail - but this doesn't distract from its beauty.


The flower painting is gorgeous and done by a very skilled artist. 


The plate is unmarked except the pattern number 517, which dates it to around 1828.


CONDITION REPORT The plate is in excellent condition without any damage, crazing or repairs. It has some light wear as visible in the pictures.


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration 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 easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS 21.5cm (8.5") X 20.5cm (8").

Samuel Alcock plate, maroon with flowers, inverted shell, ca 1828



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