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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Majolica Spotlight: Vine and Strawberry Plates

One of the most commonly available majolica plate designs is the Vine and Strawberry plate. I don't know who did the original design. I remember reading once that it was a Copeland design but I've never really seen any confirmation of that. I'm really not sure why it's called Vine and Strawberry either which is the name in the Wedgwood pattern books. "Grape and Strawberry" or "Leaf and Strawberry" would make more sense to me but then they never asked my opinion.

Certainly the most famous examples are from the afour mentioned Wedgwood. They made it in a number of different shapes and servers and a wide variety of color combinations including the Argenta color palette popular during the 1870's.

It's a pattern they've been making almost continuously from the late 1800's until recently, in every pottery type from majolica to yellowware to drabware to bone china. In the post-war 1940's they reintroduced a majolica line with a distinctive yellow ground that has proven to be just as popular as the Victorian original.

I have a set of these in white bone china that I bought new twenty years ago and have used regularly ever since. Wedgwood even created a matching line of bone dinnerware called Strawberry and Vine that has proven popular on it's own.

But Wedgwood was not alone in making this pattern. It was one of the most commonly copied patterns made in majolica. Gustafsberg, Davenport, Edge Malkin Co., and Brownfield made beautiful examples that match the finest of Wedgwood's examples.

There were also numerous smaller potteries both in the US and Britain that made their own
examples of the plate.

Today it is found in green glaze most frequently having been made in large quantities in that color by Wedgwood, Edge Malkin Co. and Davenport.

In all of its incarnations, it's a great design that has proven it's durability and one that deserves a place in the pantheon of great majolica patterns.

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