A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Japonism: Fabulous Fans Pt. 1, Fielding and Company's "Fan and Scroll"

One of the most interesting potteries to explore the designs of the Orient in Stoke-On-Trent is Fielding and Company. It's known that the company began majolica production around 1879 but did not register their first Fan pattern until 1881. 
It is really with the pattern we call Fan and Scroll that the company made their biggest mark on "Fan" majolica. The company made additional Asian inspired patterns that were considered complimentary to these such as Fan and Insect and  Bird and Insect.

Fan and Scroll was an odd mix of several Asian motifs: the scroll, fans both folding and rigid, the insect, Prunus blossoms, the crane, the Japanese junk, conventionalized flowers and butterflies, all on a pebbled background. The pattern proved to be such a success that it spawned copies. The company tried to sue others that infringed on their registered design but wasn't successful.

The pattern is beautiful and exotic and easily found. It is seen with grounds in ivory, yellow, turquoise and very rarely cobalt. Those with an ivory ground are considered to be "argenta" wares.

One of the most beautiful and unusual of all oyster plates was also made in this pattern.

Fielding has always been a very collectible and reasonably priced majolica pottery. Individual plates can be purchased for usually around $50, platters around $225. Teapots and pitchers will sell in the $250-$350 range. Rarer pieces like the butter pat will sell for $125-$175 while the most valuable pieces like the oyster plate will sell upwards of $1800.

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