Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Platter

I was walking Olga on Tuesday morning when I spotted this platter atop a pile of construction debris in a skip (dumpster) near our flat. It was pretty dark, so I couldn't inspect it in detail, but it had clearly been discarded so I grabbed it and brought it home.

Only after I got it into some better light did I notice it's cracked (on the right-hand side in the photo above). Still, it's kind of an interesting piece, and it got me doing a little research on its age and history.

The platter has this potter's mark on the back. I initially thought it read "Casant, Longton" but after Googling around I realized it's actually "Pheasant, Longton." It turns out the pattern is known as "Asiatic Pheasants," a popular style launched in the Victorian era. The mark belongs to the Thomas Cone pottery of Longton, near Stoke-on-Trent, which used it between 1912 and 1935.

So it seems the platter is somewhere between 84 and 107 years old. It's not great quality -- the pattern is blurry, smudged and the glaze is crazed with tiny cracks, allowing some staining of the underlying pottery.

Apparently this isn't unusual. According to the history of the pattern I linked to above, "The body of most Asiatic Pheasants dinnerware was commonly earthenware and the sheer volume of demand led inevitably to a general loss of quality in both the potting and the printing."

I'm not sure why it's called "Asiatic Pheasants," plural, because as far as I can tell, there's only one bird on the plate.

Still, I like it. Even with the cracks I think we can prop or hang it up for display. It's no doubt got a lot of history.

Incidentally, to make this piece even more alluring, I think it was discarded by our newest celebrity neighbor. Yes, we apparently have another one, at least according to Mrs. Kravitz. (Plus, I'm 99 percent sure I saw him the other day, going into this particular house.) So it can join the celebrity flowerpot as a conversation piece in our very humble and un-celebrityish abode!


  1. It's a lovely old good as any picture for a wall

  2. For one moment I thought through some bizzare event, Mrs Kravitz had become your new celebrity neighbour!
    I'm with gz,the plate would look good on a wall

  3. Will you be acquiring all of your Christmas gifts from skips (American: dumpsters)? Dave can expect an empty paint can, a broken plank and some rusty nails. You can call it a D.I.Y. art installation..

    I wonder who the new neighbour is. Intriguing.

  4. GZ: Isn't it nice?

    Alphie: Mrs. Kravitz is a celebrity only here on my blog.

    YP: Click the link! That reveals the name. I just don't want to name him in case he has a Google news feed set up and he gets sent my blog post. LOL

  5. Silly me! He was born on May 24th - like my mother, like Bob Dylan, like my son-in-law and on the same date that Hull City were first promoted to The Premier League. May 24th is an auspicious date for me and so I believe the famous actor will sometimes happily look after Olga for you. You only have to ask old chap.

  6. I have a couple of plates like this hanging in my kitchen, I had no idea they were so old, they were given to me by an old neighbour a while back.
    As for bringing things home from skips that you have found in the dark, we have plenty of times when we have taken things and got them home only to find that in daylight they were rubbish, lol.

  7. The platter is a good find!
    Of course I've never heard of your new celebrity neighbor but how nice that he's joined your neighborhood. I hope your rent doesn't go up now!

  8. What drew your eye? The colors or pattern? I should research my grandmother's and see how old it might be...

  9. Being between 84 and 107 years old only sounds old until you realize some (most?) of us who read your blog are between 60 and 90! ha ha . . . It's a bit like me thinking my year of birth isn't THAT long ago, and then realizing it was over sixty years ago, which makes it the dark ages for the youngsters of 20 and 30.

    And, yes - even if the platter isn't functional, it will make an attractive wall hanging. Maybe you can balance it out with a mosaic of your pottery chips!

  10. That's a lovely find! Mike has some cheap blue Currier & Ives dishes that his mother got at the grocery store each week (I think). This reminds me of those, but of course it's probably more valuable, even with the crack in it. We're not sure where those ended up - one of our dads' attics we think. I need to work harder to track them down!

  11. What a wonderful discovery. In spite of the crack, it appears to be in fairly good shape. I like it. Your part of town must be the Beverly Hills of London! Actually, now that I think about it, a little over 10 years ago on one of my trips to London, I took a walking tour of Hampstead where the guide pointed out quite a large number of places where celebrities lived.

  12. what a great find. I like it! we have a pottery bowl that's cracked but we still use it.

  13. The plate is quite beautiful. Such a wonderful find. I love the photo of the celebrity house and the flower pot. I'm sure you were able to find a good use for the pot. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  14. When I was a young lad in North Dakota, we had a Wedgewood platter similar to yours that hung on the wall and was used only for very special dinners. I have no idea what happened to it.

  15. Talk About A True Ground Score - Way Cool - Good On Ya For Always Making Olga Time A Priority


  16. It's transfer printed and used by the poor
    And so is twice as charming

  17. Your new celebrity neighbour is one of my faves! I'd watch him in pretty much anything. Of all his long career, if I describe him I always reference his role in one of the adaptations of "The Young Visiters" (based upon the book written by the 9-year old Daisy Ashford). Can't figure why this is the first thing that pops into my head as I've only seen it once but it so amused me it must have made a lasting impression ... Your transfer-ware range was probably named in the plural as other pieces may have had more than one bird? Anyway, it's a sweet find.

  18. Briony: Yeah, the harsh light of day can reveal many flaws, can't it?

    Ms Moon: We keep waiting to get evicted so the landlord can jack up the rent and find a classier (or at least richer) tenant.

    E: I have an eagle eye when it comes to spotting useful things in skips!

    Jenny: Age is certainly relative. The platter really isn't THAT old, in the grand scheme of things. As John points out below, it was not fine china to begin with.

    Bug: WE HAD THOSE SAME PLATES! I have no idea where they are now. Maybe my brother has them.

    Sharon: The funny thing is, though, we're not in Hampstead -- we're in WEST Hampstead, which is considerably more modest. I don't know how we wound up with such a fancy street.

    Ellen: Yeah, a little crack never hurt anybody!

    Robin: Thank you!

    Edna: I call it the celebrity flower pot, but it's actually a plant stand (as we later found out). We have it in the corner of the patio with a fern on top.

    Catalyst: I hope someone has it! Maybe one of your siblings?

    Padre: Oh, Olga runs the show around here!

    John: Agreed. I like its homespun appearance.

    Pipistrello: I agree -- I like him as an actor. I always think of him in "Iris." He was great in that movie.

  19. What a great find! And all the more fun because it was discarded by your celebrity neighbour. I have found all sorts of good things in skips over the years, the best being the chair I am sitting on at the moment, and a 1930's trunk.