Have some fruit
Have some fruit... there is plenty of it today! I am showing a stunning set of 10 plates made by Derby in about 1825 and painted by the famous porcelain decorator Thomas Steel.
Thomas Steel (sometimes written as Steele) is considered the best early 19th Century porcelain painter of fruits. He was born in Staffordshire in 1772 and was first apprenticed by Wedgwood. He moved to Derby in 1815, where he became the foremost flower and fruit painter. In 1825 he moved on to Rockingham in Yorkshire, and a few years later to Minton in Staffordshire, where he worked the rest of his life.
Steel had a very recognisable style of fruit painting, perhaps best described by the biographer John Haslem:
"Steele painted both flowers and insects well, but as a painter of fruit on china he had no superior, if, indeed, he had any equal in his day... His grouping is harmonious, the light and shade well managed, each piece of fruit is well rounded, and the outline softened and blended into the one next to it, each partaking of the reflected colour from the other."
These plates each have a different richly gilded border, and paintings with an overflowing basket of fruits placed on a shelf; grapes, peaches, plums, apples, strawberries and any other fruit that one can find in Britain. The colours are rich and fresh and have the typical delicate colouring of Steel with fresh sage green and deep purple accents.
The plates are from the Bloor period of the Derby factory. When Robert Bloor bought the factory in 1811 he found it in financial ruin, but also found a warehouse full of blanks that had not been used because their quality was less than perfect. Bloor decided to decorate all this porcelain - tens of thousands of pieces. The decorations were to be done with lots of cobalt blue, Imari and/or gilt, so that any imperfections in the porcelain would be made invisible. He built a team of first class porcelain artists who added wonderful paintings of flowers and fruits.
It worked; the new services sold like hot cakes and the Derby factory was saved. This period was very productive and if you look carefully you can see that these plates are all slightly different in shape and have some imperfections in the glaze - but who cares if the decorations are this beautiful?!
The plates are for sale in my shop, see the link in my bio page or send me a direct message for more info 🍎🍐🍇🍑
Where to find things
You can find this beautiful set of plates here in my shop; all my dessert services here, and all available stock here - and watch this space as I will be bringing out lots of new stock in the next few weeks. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day.
Wish List ❤️
Don't forget, you can now create your own profile on the site and keep a wish list. Click on the Log In icon at the top right of each page.
Happy weekend, and eat your five a day! 🍎🍐🍇🍑
This week's new treasures: