Of cherubs and bats
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After some time away, it is refreshing to be back in my stock room and clear out some items that have been waiting to be highlighted. So Today something that is not up to my usual standard, but entirely adorable: a set of plates made by Minton in 1863. It is worn and beaten up and has a wonderful staple repair, but I could not resist it when I found it - and I believe it deserves to be seen!
In the early 19th Century "bat printing" became a popular way to decorate porcelain. Now if you think that has something to do with bats (the animals) - it does not! It stands for the particular way transfer prints were generally only done for about 10 years, roughly between 1810 and 1820. However, Minton kept using this technique throughout the 19th Century.
An etched picture was transferred not by a sheet of paper, but by a slab of gelatine called a “bat”, which would transfer sticky oil onto the porcelain object, which was then covered in powdered paint. The paint would stick to the oil print of the original etching and that’s how the picture emerged. Another difference is that the etching itself was not scratched into the copper plate, but stippled; this created the soft tones.
Even though the decorations come out in monochrome, they tend to have more subtlety and emotional expression than transfer prints or even hand painted decorations. Bat printing was very time consuming so it was never done on a large scale.
This low comport with three plates are the last survivors of a large service made in 1863, long after the days other factories used bat printing. They are beautifully latticed, embossed and pierced, and the cherubs are adorable. The set comes "As Found" (A/F), which means it is a lower price than it usually would be. It has several chips and cracks and a very wonderful 19th Century staple repair, but it is still stable and looks wonderful.
You can find it here in my shop... and if you always want to see the latest, follow my instagram feed... I post pictures and stories every single day.
Enjoy your weekend!
This week's new treasures:
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