Rare engraved plate found by local collector

04th March 2011 - Fine Cut

An extremely rare engraved plate, made in the 19th century, has gone on display to locals, The Whitehaven News announced.

The plate was made at Whitehaven Pottery and was bought by local collector, Tony Calvin from American dealers who were interested in engraving. Calvin has kindly loaned the plate to The Beacon Museum.

The creamware plate features what could be termed a precision engraving of its time - a Free Trade figure by James Brindley - and is stamped 'Woodnorth & Co.' Brindley was a renowned craftsman who worked at Whitehaven Pottery until 1835, under the partnership of Woodnorth, Harrison and Hall, who had wooed him from his native Staffordshire.

This exciting find could possibly be the 'sister' of a similar 1819 Woodnorth plate which is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This plate is signed and dated: "Engraved by Jas. Brindley," according to the V&A Museum website.

Local ceramics expert and adviser to The Beacon, Florence Sibson, said to The Whitehaven News: "This is a tremendous find. I have been searching for these plates for nearly thirty years and I am thrilled that it will be put on show in The Beacon."

Creamware was made using glazed pipe clay and were very fragile. Once potters could use sturdier material, creamware was dropped, hence their rarity. 

Calvin said: "I was intrigued with the mystery over these plates and decided to try and track them down. It was a real surprise to be able to find one and bring it home."

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