Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mid 18thC plate with playing cards

Playing cards on a plate

18th century defltware London

Playing cards have been used to decorate every kind of object imaginable. This is an early example and a good reference for the style of playing cards of the time. Dating from the middle of the 18th century circa 1750 the cards are typical of the time. The court cards are single ended (standing courts), the pips are also single ended all pointing the same way, there are no indices and the cards are square cornered. All those things were to change by the late 19th century.

Probably made and decorated in London this plate is made of tin glazed earthenware, called delftware in England and Holland. The tin glaze gave the white appearance imitating porcelain which was very expensive and not yet mastered in England at that time. It is usually called faience in France and maiolica or majolica in Italy and Spain. Being much softer and quite different from porcelain it is typified in antique ceramics by the extensive chipping to the edges which reveals the fired clay colour and granular texture. This plate is in Bristol City Museum which has a very fine collection of porcelain.

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