Tumbledown Dick

Last week I showed how British porcelain makers imitated Chinese designs, and this week I have another beautiful example of this. The design on this cheerful Spode plate from about 1824 is called "Tumbledown Dick". It is a famous design of a bird hanging in beautiful peony flowers on a ground that is called "cracked ice".

So why "Tumbledown Dick?" There are various theories but the most likely one is that it was inspired by the word "dicky bird", probably a small bird such as a tit. The word was popularised by an old English nursery rhyme about Simple Simon. Simple Simon rhymes tell the adventures of a rather dim child who has all kinds of misadventures; the rhymes are funny and serve as a sort of "what not to do". My grandmother recited Simple Simon rhymes to me when I was a littl